The 2019-20 season could hardly be billed as a more important one for English cricket. Having seen last summer’s Test side lose their edge with alarming speed, England are desperate to recapture their best form. And with an Ashes series against Australia and a World Test Championship among the numerous other contests on the horizon, there is an unprecedented demand for success.
Nonetheless, the Blues have struggled to win over supporters amid a backdrop of uncertainty. Staggered exits have left a cloud of insecurities hovering over the club’s future. And after a brutal crash course in the realities of professional sport, it is clear that a complete overhaul of the club’s culture is required.
With that in mind, the West Indian consultant Daniel Vettori has been tapped to guide the club to a brighter future.
What has Vettori done at the Blues?
As the West Indian cricketer who scored the most runs in England’s county history, Vettori’s record is synonymous with the city’s first team. He scored 6626 runs at an average of 66.42, including two centuries, plus five half-centuries and four tons at an average of 12.44 each in 102 innings between 1997 and 2006. He also took 135 wickets at 28.26 during the same period, including three five-wicket hauls.
His commitment to the club was unquestionable, playing a total of 153 first-class matches for Birmingham, scoring more than 11,000 runs and taking more than 1,000 wickets. In his coaching career, he has worked with the likes of South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Australia’s Shaun Tait, as well as numerous other international players.
What makes him the right person for the job?
Anyone hoping to lead the club out of a crisis of confidence and self-doubt will be hugely welcomed. A genuine respect for the culture of the club, his previous experience of working in the city and the thorough research he has done into the club’s history combined to form an impressive foundation. He also has the right credentials to lead the club into the future. As a player, he was revered for his aggression, determination and aggression. And he will now combine that with an understanding of how to be successful in a modern, professional environment.
His attributes were evident during his time at the club. He was given an extremely high level of respect, and is now ready to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next generation.
Why he is the best candidate for the job
The storied history of English cricket is synonymous with some of the most recognizable names in world cricket.
And though he left the club in 2006, Daniel Vettori is a perfect example of someone who can take the Blues forward in that illustrious history. His record shows a sustained level of success at the top level, with centuries and big-scoring performances a common occurrence. He also has the experience of being a leader, with his work with AB de Villiers and Shaun Tait ensuring he knows all the key techniques required to be a successful coach.
His understanding of the club’s culture is also impressive. He knows the club from the inside out, having attended numerous games and events during his time as a player. And his experience of working in the city, during his coaching career, adds a new layer to his understanding.
Why he should be appointed
The club have been searching for a new director of cricket for several months. And a new man has now been put forward for the role. The appointment of Daniel Vettori is a significant step forward. It shows the club is ready to be open-minded and judged on its successes rather than its failures.
The Blues have been dogged by instability and uncertainty, with the revolving door of managers distressing supporters. And that has to change. A new director of cricket is an essential appointment, as is a new head coach. The success of Test cricket and the future of the other competitions within the club depend on it.
The club must aspire to be the best, and Birmingham are the perfect base. The city has the highest cricket participation rates in the country and a vast array of sporting facilities and world-class schools. The club must be able to compete on a global scale, with the right environment and infrastructure in place.
Despite Vettori’s impressive record and his impressive resume, there is no guarantee of success. He has had the benefit of working with the likes of AB de Villiers and Shaun Tait, who have vast experience of playing and coaching at the highest level. But he will now be judged on his own achievements. With so much on the line, the Blues can ill afford to make a mistake. The new director of cricket must be the right person for the job. If he is not, the club could be set for a disastrous year.
The appointment of Daniel Vettori is a significant step forward. He is a perfect fit for the role, with his record of success at the highest level and his experience of working in the city, at the highest level of coaching, adding up to a powerful combination. If the club are to rise again, they need a new direction. An influx of West Indian players and a focus on playing limited-overs cricket could be just what is needed to reignite interest and success.
The future of English cricket is inextricably linked to the success of the Blues. The club must lead the way, with a new direction and a new culture. That is the only way to ensure that the next generation is given the chance to make their mark on the game.