Obviously something hasn't been working this summer and although it is tempting to wipe the slate clean, sack everyone and start again, one option might be open which wasn't previously thought of.
There is a saw which says that 'things can only get better'; yet what happens if things literally can not get any worse? Is there a way to induce that bounce off the bottom? I believe so. For that reason, I think that the ECB can not literally do any worse than appointing Brian Butterfield as temporary coach of the England cricket team.
- Brian Butterfield: he means businessFirst some stats:
Runs scored: 29
Highest Score: 5
Batting Av: 4.833
Balls Bowled: 144
Bowling Av: n/a
Best Bowling: 0/73
In 1982 The Times did not call him "the most complete batsmanperson in cricket" and in 1984 The Guardian certainly did not afford him the title of "England's greatest modern bowlerman". Whilst that doesn't immediately sound like ringing endorsement, after the lacklustre and somewhat clueless performance of England over the summer, they wouldn't have fired off praise to anyone in the current squad either.
Brian was selected for the English cricket team on the 1982/3 tour of Australia after a series of injuries reduced them to just 9 players. Although on the tour as the tour manager and mainly concerned with sorting out accommodation and air travel (including attempting to fly the England side to Australia on a zeppelin) and never having been selected to play first-class cricket ever before, incredibly Bob Willis thought it would be a good idea to give him a go; Brian proved to be a better player than Vic Marks.
Professional cricket was never going to be Brian's domain and over the next two decades, he would go on to found a business empire with such enterprises such as a detective agency, time line and the fledgling home computer gaming market and was never again selected to play cricket for England... or anyone really; and yet he always maintained an interest in the game and wrote many columns in such fantastic newspapers as the Bristol Post, the Beccles and Bungay Journal and the Driffield Times.
He would often write about how players who were not English should be press-ganged into becoming English citizens to play for the national side; even going on to suggest mistakenly that the Republic of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom and that South Africa was also British, after looking at a series of maps dated 1904. One wonders if the addition of players like Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen were added on the basis of his exhortations.
More recently, during the 2013/14 Ashes series, he even Tweeted some Twooshes on the Twitbox which were incredibly insightful:
Hopefully Ballance will bring some equilibrium to the team #ashes - 4th Jan 2014
I know I'm biased and it may be optimistic but I think Stokes could be the first batsman ever to get 1000 runs in one innings #ashes - 17th Dec 2013
If Panesar can get a double hundred then we might still be in this #Ashes - 7th Dec 2013
- Via Twitter - https://twitter.com/MrBButterfield
The truth is that Gary Ballance did have a stellar season for Yorkshire last year, Ben Stokes did shine out amidst the bleakness and why on earth the selectors didn't pick Monty Panesar for the Sydney Test; on a wicket that traditionally supports spinners, is totally beyond me.
Sometimes the best and most successful selectors and managers are people who never competed in the sport which they love at the highest level. Sven-Göran Eriksson was a mediocre footballer, Murray Walker never drove racing cars and Henry Blofeld who surely became the voice of cricket for a generation, never played for England.
Managing a national cricket side I imagine would be rather like running a business and Brian Butterfield's legendary entrepreneurial skills must surely put him in good stead to be the next England cricket coach. I put it to the ECB that appointing Brian Butterfield as England cricket coach would be like opening up a giant festive Bonbonbonbon and they'd be crazy not to CALL NOW.
Given that on the current tour England have won zero from seven against Australia, he literally can not do any worse than Andy Flower.