The man who took the nickname ‘Stumpy’ while playing cricket professionally, Graham Thorpe, will take the reigns as batting coach for the ODI and twenty20 squads for the foreseeable future as England separate squads, as well as coaching staff for the longer and shorter formats. He will replace Graham Gooch who many, especially Captain Cook, pin their success on his coaching.
This will mean the England one-day squad is run by two of England’s side that played in 2005, only eight years ago. Thorpe, who was replaced by that man Kevin Pietersen for the Ashes test’s, played his last game in 2005 against Bangladesh, the same game he received his commemorative cap for 100 test appearances. A feat that Pietersen is soon to reach as-well (if he can keep his relationship with the ECB sweet) in just 8 matches time, possibly during the Ashes series in England this year. A sad statistic for Thorpe is that Pietersen has already scored 7414 test runs in 92 matches, compared to Thorpe’s 6744 in exactly 100. Possibly showing how the game has changed, with Pietersen being the epitome of the modern batting game (I’m disappointed in myself that I said that, but it is true sadly. An ex-Safa that made the switch to Britain makes a great batsmen. Just look at Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss. If only Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers made the same decision… I digress). Another interesting fact is that Pietersen scored his in just under 8 years, whereas Thorpe’s were scored in a period of 12 years starting in 1993 against Australia at Trent Bridge before the new stand was built! (How long ago was that! I wasn’t even born!) England’s shorter-format coaching team are now a team very experienced in playing terms but not so much in coaching terms.
Thorpe was batting coach for the England Lions squad before taking up this post and will be replaced by Mark Ramprakash in the ‘A’ set up. Ramprakash will now coach the legacy of the future, as well as notifying Andrew Flower of members that should be in the first-team (*cough* James Taylor *cough*). My question is will Thorpe understand the importance of Morgan’s reverse reverse sweep or Buttler’s flick over fine-leg in the shorter format of the game? He comes from an era before twenty20 was truly in force. He came from a time where 8 an over was an incredibly tough target to reach. Times have changed so much, so will these ex-players be able to handle the new gadgets and techniques flying around the one-day circuit?
Test cricket will never dramatically change, but One-Day cricket, especially twenty20, is changing all the time. Maybe coaches less experienced in the act of playing and more in the act of coaching would be appropriate for the more modern format of the game. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!