Two years after his second exit as England coach, Peter Moores is once again flourishing in the domestic arena as his county Nottinghamshire secured the limited-overs double of T20 and 50-over success, with the Division Two County Championship title likely to make it a treble over the next few weeks.
Whatever the limitations that led to a brace of ignominious departures from the England job in 2008 and then 2015, Moores has brought success wherever he has gone in county cricket. He won the Championship with Sussex in 2003, with Lancashire in 2011 and has now marshalled a dominant season at Trent Bridge, the latest installment being the 22-run victory in the NatWest t20 Blast final over Birmingham, after taking the head coach role at the end of last season when the team were relegated in the Championship.
“You don’t imagine you’re going to have a season when you win both one-dayers. You target them, of course you do,” Moores said. “I think when we started we had a real focus on trying to get promoted out of the second to the first division. The one-day trophies, we knew we were a good side, so we were going to go hard at it.
“Credit to the lads, they’ve worked really hard and probably hit more balls than anybody else. We’ve done loads of work going through, we’ve had a load of fun doing it, and somewhere along the line we’ve found this way of people delivering when it really counts in pretty much all forms of the game at the moment.”
A player who made his debut during Moores’ first spell as England coach in 2008, and returned briefly in the Trevor Bayliss era after occasionally frequenting the Andy Flower team, is allrounder Samit Patel who played a starring role on Finals Day to continue an impressive season. He was Man of the Match in the final for his 64 off 42 balls – after Notts had been 30 for 3 – and two direct hit run-outs, while he is the team’s leading run-scorer in the Championship with 824 runs at 68.66.
Since Patel was surprisingly recalled for the 2015-16 series against Pakistan and South Africa – where he played one Test in Sharjah – the role of left-arm spinning allrounder has gone to Liam Dawson. Patel has made no secret of his frustrations at being overlooked by the selectors and earlier this season made the point of stressing how he has never missed a match due to fitness issues.
“He’s always been a really good player, there’s no doubt about that, but I think he’s found a new level of tempo, maturity whereby he’s becoming very consistent as a batter,” Moores said. “He’s got his own style of play which I actually think internationally suits well because he sits back a little bit, he doesn’t go at the moving ball quite the same as some people and he’s a bloody good cricketer.
“I can hear his frustration at times because he’s played well, the key is to keep doing it, keep doing that level of work. You’ve had all sorts of things talked about Samit and his fitness and whatever, but he works hard and people give him credit for. He plays a long day today, he does the allrounder’s role and he’s as fresh now as he was at the start of the day. He’s not a bloke who cramps up or anything like that, he just kind of does it and you’ve got to give him credit for that.”
Moores has always maintained that the judgments made on him as an international coach after his difficult stints were misplaced and admitted the most hurtful aspect was blame being attached to his style of coaching.
“The hardest thing with that was the whole concept that you coach with some restrictive style or whatever, which was completely unfounded by whatever any player said or what actually went on, that was the most hurtful thing,” he said. “When somebody decides they don’t want you as a coach then you’ve got to take it on the chin.”
In terms of a return to the international stage in the future, Moores wasn’t looking too far ahead. “I don’t plan like that, honestly. I do what I’m doing at the time and see what comes along. I’m loving coaching at the moment. But I could coach the under-12s and have a great time, if I’m honest. I’m loving my time at Notts so I’m just going to get stuck into that, enjoy it and take it from there.”