Steve Rixon Ashes Dairy 2014: Chapter 15 – Part I

Chapter 15 – Part I

The One Dayers

The England Support Staff Dissected

16 players in red, 16 support staff in blue
Two England teams: 16 players in red, 16 support staff in blue

Me: Steve, how are the one dayers going?

Steve Rixon: Well England have rolled up with a pretty ordinary One Day team, some pretty old school, unimaginative tactics and the same old, out of form captain.

Team England would be better off picking their best players in their One Day squad – Anderson & KP, for example (I’m not sure they realise there is a World Cup here in 12 months time) – rather than touring around the country with a support staff as big as their squad. 16 support staff for 16 players – it’s nonsense. I was able to get the inside word on what these 16 support staff do.


1. Coach: Ashley Giles. Well not doing much actually, except continually picking the wrong team with no spinner, batting Jos Buttler too low and persisting with Cook.


2. Batting coach: Graham Gooch – yeah not doing a whole lot either, as shown by England great batting performances on this tour. Working extensively with Cook to get his power game back….

Gooch to Bopara: But when you bat don't just shadow bat with your arm, use the bat.
Gooch to Bopara: “But when you bat don’t just shadow bat with your arm like me, use the bat.” Bopara just looked dumbfounded.

3. Fast Bowling Coach: David Saker – hailed as some sort of hero in England but he has really struggled with getting the fast bowlers up and firing in Australia particularly his three tall fast bowling Amigos: Tremlett, Rankin and Finn.


4. Spin Bowling Coach: Mushtaq Ahmed. Look at the wonders he has worked with Swann (premature retirement), Monty Panesar (probably should retire, seems he prefers Tinder to cricket) and of course the recent debutantes who struggled to get it on the cut stirp Scott Borthwick and Simon Kerrigan. A+


5. Fielding coach: Richard Halsall. Born in Zimbabwe (of course) Halsall’s mantra is ‘physicality, precision and sacrifice’ This has nothing to do with fielding or cricket, it’s just his mantra. Michael Carberry is his best student. (Think Adelaide)

Richard Halsall: Right, plant your feet apart and hold the bowl over your head like your going to throw a spear.
Richard Halsall: Right, plant your feet apart and hold the bowl over your head like your going to throw a spear.

6. Wicket Keeping Coach: Bruce French. He has done an excellent job with Prior and Bairstow, perfecting the dropped catch, the missed stumping and the never dive for a catch toward first slip. Top notch.


7. Video Analyst: Gemma Broad – Yes, Stuart Broad’s sister is the team’s video analyst viewing hours of footage to discover flaws in players. Hmm, perhaps she should start with her brother’s sense of sportsmanship and time wasting.

Gemma Broad films as England train to the right
Gemma Broad films as England train to the right

8. Strength and Conditioning: Mike Gatting. Yes a little known fact that ‘Fat Gatt’ is England’s strength and conditioning coach after Graeme Gooch put in a good word for him. Actually it’s looking like the pair may swap roles soon, given Gooches glorious run as batting guru.

Mike Gatting introduced kick around soccer games as warm-ups for Team England
Mike Gatting introduced kick around soccer games as warm-ups for Team England

9. Nutritionist. Seen as the most important role in the England cricket team and expertly justified their employment by producing the 80 page dossier on the team’s food requirements. Invaluable.


10. The Chef. He is up early every morning on tour to get down to the market to source the finest and freshest local produce to make the 80 pages worth of recipes. Seen as one of the most important role in the England cricket team despite it having absolutely nothing to do with cricket.


11. Scorer. Despite having the latest cricket scoring technology available, the England team scorer prefers more traditional multi-couloured pens and paper scoring methods including DIY hand drawn wagon wheels.

image (1)


12. Integration officer. With so many non-English born players in the England team it’s critical that there is someone who can overcome any cultural differences that may crop up  and help the players to pick a Premier League team to follow so they seem English.


13. Social media manager. Traditionally the media manager made sure press conferences and player interviews went smoothly with this England team the role changed to checking that Greame Swann, Tim Bresnan and KP hadn’t put anything inapropriate on Facebook or Twitter. And hacking into KP’s text messages. Their workload has been reduced by 80% with Swann’s retirement.


14. Uniform manager/Embroider. Responsible for supplier all players with thier appropriate playing and training kit. Did a good job in the tests but then screwed up in the one dayers and brought some red coke can outfit instead of their usual blue. Apperantly it’s so the players don’t get confused with the support staff who are all in blue outfits. Also embroidered 39 on Ravi Bopara’s one day cap, he’s number 202. Close.

Different colour but same old shit from England
Different colour but same old shit from England

15. Security Coordinator. Because Australia is such a dangerous place to tour England bring their security adviser on the whole tour. He was responsible for submitting the idea that England shouldn’t play at the Gabba in future due to security concerns about too much sledging. 


16. Support Staff. Every good team needs a support network, and the England Cricket team Support team is no exception. The role includes many and various responsibilities to support the Support Staff. It makes sense. Team England are thinking of expanding this role to become Support Staff Manager to coordinate all the support staff and to manage two Support Staff Assistants.


16 support staff for 16 players yet none of them could help Steve Finn and he was sent home. He’s issues sound intriguing:

“In terms of the technical things, they are not massive things. I’ve aligned my run-ups – my run-ups are nice straight line to the crease now – I did a lot of work on that last summer – and it’s just about getting the timing of my arms and legs working at the same time. Sometimes a little thing can throw you out on either of those things but once my arms and my legs start working together again I feel I can come out of this a better bowler.”


It sounds like he’s lost the coordination of his arms and legs required to walk let alone run in to bowl. What the England cricket team really need is a coordination coach, to teach their players like Finn who come through first class cricket uncoordinated, how to get their arms and legs working simultaneosuly. It’s clearly what their missing from their line up of support staff and their support staff are clearly not meeting their players needs given Finn has now had his papers stamped ‘not selectable’


Finn’s problems started when he kept clipping the stumps at the non strikers end with his hand just before he delivered the ball. The ICC even changed the rules to make it a no ball after Graeme ‘Muppett’ Smith complained a lot. Anyway I spoke to ‘The Bowling Whisperer’ that’s Craig McDermott in case you didn’t know, about how to fix the problem. He said it was pretty simple Finn needed to move wider on the crease, away from the stumps and then he wouldn’t hit them any more. It made me wonder what the hell David Saker is doing with these guys!


Anyway despite all England’s troubles we’ve played pretty well. Particularly James Faulkner – that was pretty special in Brisbane – it was definitely his ‘Bevan’ moment.

Me: That was an amazing finish. What about some of the Australian squads selected?

Steve Rixon: Mate, I’m going to see Invers tomorrow, get back to me then. Can you put $50 0n Australia to win the series 5-0?

Me: Can do mate, see ya.




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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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