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England Cricket in disarray

Nobody seems to be able to pinpoint the reason for England's cricketers suddenly hitting a brick wall. That they have lost confidence is easy to see but that may be a symptom rather than a cause.

It is a single image on TV which has given me a possible clue. It was a clip of Ashley Giles, freely touted as the next management supremo, tottering down some steps onto the field of play in some highly coloured romper suit carrying a hefty bag of unspecified kit. What on earth was he about to do? Can you imagine Arsen Wenger ever demeaning himself in such a tawdry way at Arsenal.

In general it seems to me that the great number of support staff, all being paid a handsome sum presumably, all feel that they have to be seen to be doing something cogent and impressive 24 hours a day. If that is so, then surely there are bound to be cases of management overload as experienced by the players.

Obviously the role of the Captain is hugely diminished, maybe necessarily given the amount of press interviews and related duties he is expected to perform. But someone else, not a whole army of people, needs to take up the slack. My feeling was that Andy Flower fulfilled that role well until even he, possibly, became just one of a crowd.

Chain of command needs to be clear and concise. I remember from National Service that the Colonel of the Regiment seldom, if ever, joined in with troop activity. He was probably a rather lonely man as a result. But his responsibility was absolute and he made damn sure that everyone below him knew exactly where they stood.

I recommend that whoever is selected to take responsibility for all our England teams maintains a healthy distance between himself and the lower ranks. I hope I never see again any ageing cricketer staggering about in practise sessions trying to prove what a jolly good sport he is.