Recent Comments

October 2009
« Sep   Nov »

John Stern: Capello on cricket

October 23rd, 2009 by John Stern in Test cricket

Fabio Capello

Well, almost. One of the more surreal moments of my professional life occurred this morning when Fabio Capello was commenting on the concentration levels required in cricket. This utterance delivered in the broadest Italian accent came at an event called the Global Sport Summit in central London.

This is a forum for 150 of the world’s biggest movers and shakers in sports business and administration, like Premier League chief execs and team owners from here and the United States.

But the interesting part (for me anyway) came in the morning when the summit was launched with a discussion panel between Capello, Martin Johnson, Andy Flower and Mike Holmgren, one of the most successful American football coaches.

I worried that it might just descend into punditry and waffle but thankfully no. It was a genuinely fascinating hour of real insight into the philosophy and practice of coaching. There were one or two ‘lines’ for the national newspaper journalists. Capello talked of his dislike for ‘divers’ and also of his surprise that England’s footballers were actually quite good when he took his first training session.

But what really came through was the individual ethos of each respective coach. The dynamic was interesting: Capello and Holmgren bookended the line-up with Johnson and Flower, the relative novices, in between the two veterans.

Capello was asked about instilling discipline. “It’s respect,” he said. “I cannot understand why 20 players have to wait for two players that arrive late. I don’t understand why someone doesn’t respect the rules.”

Flower agreed, adding “it’s also respect for the game, respect for your opposition, mutual respect between players”. One of Flower’s key philosophies, it emerged, in this discussion and also a later one about dealing with pressure, concerns perspective: “A good place to start is an education about where we sit in the world and how we relate to people and really how important our job is compared to some of the real stuff that goes on in the world.”

Flower spoke less than the others but he was as impressive as he has been in his other public performances since becoming England coach. He is a serious-minded individual who understands that cricket, and sport, is not life and death.

Capello talked of the fear that his England side had played with when he took over and how he had to address the mindset of the players. We’ve seen England cricketers buttoned up by fear of failure so much in the past. Hopefully, Flower is the man to promote freedom over fear.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in Test cricket | 1 Comment »

One Response to “John Stern: Capello on cricket”

  1.   Paddy Briggs says:

    The problem for Flower is that he is the lone possessor of a moral compass in the ECB hierarchy. Above him are people who are tainted one way or another by decisions they have made in recent times. Morris and the scandal of the choice of Cardiff for the Ashes Test. Collier and Clarke for - well where to begin, Stanford is enough. He is also subservient in the ECB pecking order to the County Chairmen and CEOs who at best frustrate the needs of the England team and at worst (and quite often) work against England’s interests. Flower is a man of integrity. Will he endure being amongst people who are not?

Leave a Reply

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved