Peter Moores was named England coach for the second time yesterday as the cricket board continued its overhaul following the humiliating 5-0 Ashes rout in Australia at the start of the year.
The 51-year-old succeeds Zimbabwean Andy Flower, who stepped down after five years in charge following the whitewash Down Under in January.
Moores coached England for two years from 2007 before he was sacked after a fallout with leading batsman Kevin Pietersen, whose international career was ended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after this year’s Ashes defeat.
“It’s great to be back. I feel very proud to get this opportunity because I think it’s a great chance,” Moores told a news conference at Lord’s.
“To work with an outstanding player, person [captain Alastair Cook] and try to build something, it’s an opportunity and to be part of that opportunity I’m very excited and looking forward to the challenges ahead,” he added.
Moores, a journeyman player and a former coach of Sussex, took charge of Lancashire after leaving England and in 2011 led the club to the outright County Championship title for the first time in 77 years.
Former international spinner Ashley Giles, England’s one-day coach, was the favorite to get the No. 1 job.
However, the team’s poor World Twenty20 campaign last month in Bangladesh, where they failed to get past the group stage, appears to have counted against him.
Moores faces a major rebuilding job following the end of Pietersen’s international career, the retirement of experienced off-spinner Graeme Swann and the stress-related problems faced by batsman Jonathan Trott, who announced he was taking another break from the game on Friday.
Cook, though, said he was looking forward to England hosting the Test series against Sri Lanka and India later this year, and also going to the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
“It’s going to be small steps,” the captain added. “It’s going to take a little time to rebuild, but we have got a huge amount of talent in this country and it’s a very exciting time to be an England player.”
ECB managing director Paul Downton, who was appointed in October last year, said Moores was a perfect fit for the role, but did not give any details about the length of contract his new coach had signed.
“There is no doubt he is the leading English coach of his generation and I believe that this is his time. I was hugely impressed by his vision for the future of the England team and I am looking forward to working with him in the years to come,” said Downton, a former England wicketkeeper.
When Moores was fired by the ECB in 2009, Pietersen was also relieved of the captaincy.
Downton said there was no way back for the maverick batsman.
“The issue at that stage was that you had a senior player [Pietersen] who had got disconnected from the team,” he added about the circumstances leading to the South Africa-born player’s sacking after the Ashes whitewash this year.
“I spent two to three weeks speaking to all the coaches on that trip, several senior players, to the captain, to James Whitaker, the chairman of selectors, and came to the unanimous conclusion that if England were going to rebuild after a very disappointing 5-0 loss we had to make a decision,” Downton said.
“We had to rebuild not for the first three months, but for the next two years, three years, five years for the side to grow. We had to invest in new players and we had to build a new team with core values, and we decided that wouldn’t happen with Kevin in the side so we decided not to select him going forward,” he added.