Tom Moody is around a good deal of Twenty20 cricket these days. The Indian Premier League, the Big Bash League and the Caribbean Premier League witness Moody playing the role of coach or director.
So when the former Australian allrounder has an opinion on the game, it is taken seriously. And if his opinion on David Warner’s skills as a captain is accepted by the powers that be, Australia could well have another option to consider if they need a new One-Day International and Twenty20 International captain.
“I think he is an amazing captain. I have seen a lot of captains in my stint and this guy is right up there,” Moody told Wisden India. “He has a very interesting way of perceiving situations on the field. He is quick on his feet and he does an exceptional job when it comes to leading from the front. He has done that for the Sunrisers (Hyderabad) and I think he could do that on an international level.”
Warner was aggressive in his field settings and his bowling combinations while leading Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League this season, but that hasn’t reflected in how the franchise fared. They had seven wins, but lost an equal number of matches, and couldn’t make it through to the play-offs.
“I think the boys put on a good show. We are disappointed that we didn’t do better. We only got a kick on late this season and it was hard,” said Moody.
There were, however, a few positives for Hyderabad despite a sixth-place finish. “I think Warner was brilliant at the top of order for us. He and Shikhar (Dhawan) provided us with great starts regularly. We were just unable to capitalise on it,” said Moody. “As far is Warner is concerned, I think what made his innings all the more special was that he was able to put the pressure of being captain aside. In fact he thrived in those conditions.”
The IPL is done with, and soon, Moody will begin work with the St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, but in the midst of these two engagements on his busy calendar, the option of being the England coach popped up once again. It’s an option Moody turned down six years ago, but this time he was ready. As fate would have it, however, Trevor Bayliss was handed the reins.
Still, Moody was looking out for the welfare of England cricket. “I have always maintained that England’s approach in the shortest format will have trouble if its players don’t play in the IPL. This year some of their players played the latter part of the tournament and these experiences can be very helpful for England in the long run,” he said.
Talking about putting T20 experiences to use, Ben Stokes has been somewhat of a revelation for England in recent times. Since kicking off against the Australians in 2013, Stokes’s journey has been up and down, but it hit its lowest against India in 2014. Brushing it off, he came up with some promising knocks against West Indies. But his best came against New Zealand in the first Test last week where England were precariously placed in both innings. Stokes belted a fiery 92 in the first innings and backed it up with an even more scintillating 101.
“Ben Stokes is the player England were in search of. He gives them the perfect blend,” said Moody. “He lends a heavy hand to their middle order and does really well with the old ball for them. He has done exceptionally well and I’m sure he would want to continue putting up big scores and taking wickets for England.”
Moody is a bit of a talker when he gets going, but unlike a lot of people, whatever he says has some weight to it. That is probably another reason to take him seriously.