Rob Key is reportedly the frontrunner to become England 's new managing director, after Durham's director of cricket Marcus North withdrew from consideration.
Key played 15 Tests for England during his career and has been working as a commentator and pundit for Sky Sports since his retirement in 2015. As part of his role with Sky, Key has already shared his thoughts on several key issues that would fall under the remit of England's managing director, including the futures of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Joe Root 's captaincy and the coaching situation.
Should Key get the managing director job, he will be the man tasked with appointing a new head coach and he has previously said he would like to see the job split between red and white ball cricket. Speaking in February about Chris Silverwood's axing, Key told Sky Sports : "He was just given an impossible task in what he did. What sums it up is how wrong that decision was to put him in charge of everything.
"In this new era, we will probably go for a split coaching set-up with one coach for Test cricket and one for white-ball cricket, while we'll probably have some form of selection panel back. That's the complete opposite of what Silverwood was asked to do."
Key has also given his thoughts on several potential candidates for the job, including Ricky Ponting, Gary Kirsten and Mahela Jayawardene. "Who the ideal person is is probably people who don’t want to do the job for love nor money people, like Ricky Ponting," Key said.
"You know you talk about international experience, the class that he is how someone like Joe Root would be able to feed off him but he’s not going to do the job. Then you've got Stephen Fleming, who's the coach of the Chennai Super Kings who was a fantastic captain for his country for years and has been a brilliant coach but again he's not going to want to do it.
"Someone like Mahela Jayawardene would be perfect if you're looking for someone overseas. I think he [Gary Kirsten] probably would [be a decent option for the job].
"You know, he was obviously a decent player and he's got a lot of international cricket experience, so he's used to that scrutiny and he coached India to No.1 in the world with MS Dhoni. What you have to work out with these people at times is who was the real driver of that success that India had.
"Was it MS Dhoni, was it Gary Kirsten? Did Gary Kirsten just facilitate MS Dhoni and everything that was great about MS Dhoni and all the decisions? That's what you have to find out."
Key was also critical of England's decision to axe both Anderson and Broad for their recent tour of the West Indies, suggesting the pair would be welcomed back into the fold this summer if Key is appointed. "Under no circumstance are Broad and Anderson not the best bowlers, not the best people as well," he told Sky Sports.
"If this is any of this decision is about them being hard to manage, that is the biggest load of rubbish I think you can have. That is more of a black mark on Joe Root's captaincy than it is on Broad and Anderson.
"If they can't bowl the right length after all those Test matches have a look at yourself Joe. Don't worry about them and nailing them in the media for all of that. That's a load of rubbish."
Root's future as Test captain has also come under scrutiny recently, with England winning just one of their last 17 Test matches under his leadership, and Key has hinted that he would look to replace him as skipper. He named Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler as two players he feels would be "a better captain than Joe Root", saying: "I would say a lot of those decisions that have been criticised for a long time have all been made, primarily, by Joe Root the captain.
"Chris Silverwood himself would have just been one of those coaches, like we have nowadays, that says, 'What do you want, Joe?', Joe says, 'I want this' and Chris Silverwood then does it. So how has Joe Root managed to survive and everyone else has lost their job? When probably, all of those guys have made less bad decisions than the captain?
"I personally think Joe Root has a lot to do as a captain. The problem with that is it's not obvious who can come in. The best captain in that entire setup or the person who's the most likely candidate or would be the best captain, in my opinion is Jos Buttler but the problem with that is that he doesn't get in the team at the moment.
"But you're talking about purely – forget about playing – talking about captaincy credentials, Jos Buttler is that, hence why Eoin Morgan goes to him all the way through the last four years. Eoin Morgan has gone to him, and he has said 'You know Jos Buttler is the one I turn to, he's got the best cricket brain'.
"In that, he looks like he's at the end of his tether with Test cricket so that’s not an option. I think Ben Stokes would be a better captain than Joe Root at the moment but he’s had his own issues."
Key has also shared concerns about the state of academy cricket, suggesting the costs are "pricing a lot of people out". His daughter plays for Kent's under-15 side and he told Sky Sports that it costs him around £710 a season. "I really don't know where that money goes," he said.
"It would be interesting to see. There are some counties that do it very well; there are others that cost even more than Kent. It varies depending on where you are, I think Essex actually subsidise a lot of the coaching, and it's no surprise then that they've got players and they've done pretty well in the county championship and they produce a lot of their own players.
"It's just become, and it's probably been like this for quite some time actually, it's become expensive. We talk about cricket for everyone, we talk about diversity – all these types of things, bringing the game to every person, well, you're just pricing a lot of people out the market with the way you price it."
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