Matthew Mott challenges England to enjoy sustained period of white-ball dominance


Matthew Mott has challenged England’s white-ball stars to target a prolonged period of dominance that is the hallmark of every truly great international side.

Reigning 50-over World Cup champions but semi-finalists in the Twenty20 equivalent last autumn, England have appointed a limited-overs head coach who has a track record for instilling a ruthless outlook.

Australia’s women’s side emphatically proved themselves the pre-eminent team of this era under Mott’s seven-year rule, which he ended last month after agreeing to supervise Eoin Morgan’s charges in the England men’s coaching shake-up, with Brendon McCullum tasked with improving the fortunes of the Test outfit.

Mott is well aware of the talent England have at their disposal so while he is not planning a radical overhaul in their much-lauded on-field approach, he hinted at tinkering with their mindset.

He told the PA news agency: “Definitely this team has functioned well, there’s no doubt about that but where you want to be is competing in all the finals all the time – that’s the next frontier.

“This team is on the cusp of getting there and there’s a lot of great teams around the world but it’s trying to get ahead and then try and put a distance on the field is probably where the team wants to get to.

“It’s going to take some time to get there. But everybody gets a bit of success, when you really get judged in a great light is when you have that sustained success and you’re competing in big games all the time. That’s something we’re hungry to do.

“I’m not going to come over here and try and reinvent the wheel. It’s more or less just trying to get some incremental improvements across the board.”

Mott revealed he initially applied for the Australia men’s job that went to Andrew McDonald but an indirect consequence of being turned down led him to England’s door.

He said: “To be honest, I didn’t think I was a realistic chance of getting (the Australia men’s head coach position).

England won the 2019 50-over World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Archive)

“As it turned out there was some connection with the two companies that ran the process, they actually put me on a shortlist for the England job so once that opportunity came up, I was very excited.”

England’s previous attempt to split head coach duties fell flat as tensions arose between Andy Flower and Ashley Giles, but Mott and former New Zealand Test captain McCullum have some shared history having briefly worked alongside each other at the Indian Premier League with Kolkata Knight Riders.

While Mott admitted Rob Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, might have difficulty balancing the needs of his two coaches, the Queenslander reasoned all parties share a pragmatism to work through any obstacles.

He said: “At some point there’s always going to have to be greater emphasis on one of the formats, whether you’re leading into a World Cup or a big Test series. It can’t be equal all the time because it won’t work.

“That’s all to be managed well and you’ve just got to park your ego sometimes and look at the bigger picture. Between the three of us, we can certainly work that out.”

Definitely this team has functioned well, there’s no doubt about that but where you want to be is competing in all the finals all the time – that’s the next frontier

Matthew Mott

Mott was speaking in Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam, as England gear up for three one-day internationals against the Netherlands which have been squeezed in between the second and third Test between Ben Stokes’ side and New Zealand.

Focus is once again on Morgan, the architect of England’s white-ball resurgence since 2015 but who is without a half-century in his last 18 T20 knocks, with an average of 16.

With the T20 World Cup in Australia just four months away it is a worrying statistic, but while part of Mott’s remit is to oversee a changing of the guard when the time is right after signing a four-year contract, he believes Morgan still has plenty to offer.

After overseeing his first training session on Wednesday morning, Mott added: “Great players go through runs at different times and sometimes you flick a switch and it turns and you wonder what all the fuss has been about.

“Watching him bat, he’s in pretty good positions, he’s going well and you can already tell what a profound influence he has on the leadership of this group.

“He hasn’t spoken a lot yet but you can tell when he speaks, everybody is listening. That leadership is something that’s probably not as recognised as much from the outside as it is inside.

“He’s got a lot of great cricket ahead of him.”

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