England players back Moores as axe hovers

England players rallied to the support of Peter Moores as reports emerged that the under-fire coach is on the verge of being sacked for the second time.

James Taylor, who skippered England in Friday’s washed-out one-day international against Ireland in Malahide, and Mark Wood, one of five debutants in the team, were not in a position to confirm Moores’ fate.

But just days before Andrew Strauss is expected to be appointed as the new director of cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) they certainly gave him a ringing recommendation.

“He is really positive, keeps it simple and although I’ve limited experience of him in the England camp, he has always been helpful and positive and that’s all I could ask of him,” said Taylor.

“Today he has been brilliant as always, good around the dressing room and the guys are firmly behind him.”

Wood added: “He gave me my chance in the West Indies so I’m thankful for that. He’s been brilliant with me and has always been positive.”

If Strauss does take over and Moores is removed from his post, it will mean the coach’s second spell in charge will have lasted barely a year since he was brought back in 2014 following England’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, which led Andy Flower to step down as coach.

Moores’s second spell — he was initially dismissed in 2009 after a falling out with then captain Kevin Pietersen — has so far yielded just one series win, at home to India last year, and included England’s embarrassing exit from the World Cup, where they failed to beat a single Test nation, and a disappointing 1-1 series draw in the West Indies.

Friday’s one-off game was abandoned after just 18 overs due to torrential rain.

But Durham seamer Wood thanked Taylor for giving him the new ball in helpful, overcast conditions and although he admitted he “didn’t bowl that great” he took the wicket of Ireland captain William Porterfield in his fourth over.

Zafar Ansari did not get a chance to make an impression but David Willey also took a wicket on debut, to a catch by Jason Roy.

Fellow slip fielder and new boy James Vince held the catch to dismiss Niall O’Brien as Ireland reached 56 for four when the rain arrived.

– Tough day –

Quite how many will be involved in England’s next ODI, against New Zealand when the Test match squad will also be available is unknown, but Wood insists he will be ready for the call.

“I haven’t played much for month and a bit but I’d be delighted to be called up and will be ready to play.

“Going to the West Indies was a big positive for me and although I didn’t get a game, the big players, Cook, Anderson and Broad were fantastic with me,” he said.

“I got a little advice from them all and hopefully I’ll be a better cricketer and will be trying to put those skills into practice in the next few weeks.”

Taylor hasn’t given up hope of being involved in the Test squad, adding: “The batsmen didn’t get a chance to perform today but hopefully I’ll be involved and it’s up to me to keep knocking down the door.”

The day was, if anything, more frustrating for Ireland and, in particular, their new coach John Bracewell.

The former New Zealand coach had no input in team selection but he learnt little and Ireland have only one more ODI against a Full Member in the pipeline, the other biennial fixture, against Australia in Belfast in August.

Porterfield said: “Everyone is aware of the situation we are in and where we want to go, we want to play as many ODIs as possible against the big teams so this was disappointing, especially as we always want to put on a show and win games.”


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