Rob Key revealed his appointment of Matthew Mott as England’s limited-overs coach was based on the assumption Eoin Morgan was on the verge of international retirement.
A combination of form and fitness concerns led to the 2019 World Cup-winning captain last month abruptly ending his England career, just a matter of weeks after Mott took up his new position.
Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, recognised Morgan had a lot of control over the white-ball sides but his inkling the 35-year-old would soon depart influenced him turning to Mott.
With Mott taking Australia Women to the next level as holders of the Ashes and both World Cups, Key felt the Queenslander was the outstanding candidate to usher in the post-Morgan era.
Key said: “One of the reasons I wanted someone with experience was in case Eoin Morgan gave it up. When I came in, he pretty much ran that entire set-up.
“He never gave that guarantee of ‘I will definitely be there for the World Cup’ (in India next year). That became part of the decision-making process.
“This team really can run itself with Eoin Morgan (but) what’s the best way to do it when he’s not there? That’s why (we appointed) Matthew Mott.
“I wasn’t expecting this, but it was part of the thinking.”
Every time I watch England play, as well as we’re doing at times, I think we’re still a better side with Jofra Archer coming into itRob Key
Mott has had mixed results since taking charge, having started with a 3-0 one-day international clean sweep of the Netherlands before some poor batting displays in a 2-1 Twenty20 series loss to India.
The ongoing ODI series against Rohit Sharma’s side is the first time Mott has had something approaching a full-strength squad to choose from, with the Test outfit given immediate priority this summer.
Key is currently doubling up as national selector, having yet to identify a candidate for the resurrected role, which was mothballed when Ed Smith was dispensed with in April last year.
But Key has given an insight into the qualities he is looking for, explaining: “That to me has always been about the person, not the structure.
“It’s actually the lower sides, the bets for the future, it’s watching county cricket, it’s working out who the next best bowlers and spinners are going to be. That’s where you earn your corn. I’ve got to work out how to do that.”
Key’s decision to name Brendon McCullum head coach of a misfiring Test side has had remarkable results. From one win in 17 matches before the former New Zealand captain’s arrival into the dressing room, England have claimed four victories since, chasing down 275-plus totals in the fourth innings on each occasion.
Key said: “What I love is the way they’ve gone about it. That was my bet, really, that you needed someone to come in and free them up and maximise their potential.”
Key feels Jofra Archer would thrive in that environment and quashed suggestions the fast bowler may opt to give up Test cricket after a stress fracture to his lower back, sustained just before he was due to make his comeback from an elbow injury that had sidelined him since July last year.
Key added: “Jofra’s a little way off. Hopefully he’ll be back. Every time I watch England play, as well as we’re doing at times, I think we’re still a better side with Jofra Archer coming into it.
“I’m preparing for everything for Jofra Archer. I am hopeful he will be involved in everything. Unless there’s someone knows a lot more about backs and injuries I am not going to change my view on that.
“We don’t have to look that far ahead. At some point someone will tell us what Jofra can do. At no stage has anyone said that about Jofra so I am assuming we will see the best of him in all formats.”