England appointed Matthew Mott in case Eoin Morgan retired, admits Key

Rob Key has revealed that the appointment of Matthew Mott as England’s white-ball coach in May was made in the knowledge that the team’s captain Eoin Morgan, who “pretty much ran the entire set-up”, could retire at any moment. Morgan duly stepped down last month, with Mott now working alongside his replacement, Jos Buttler.

“One of the reasons I wanted someone with experience was in case Eoin Morgan gave it up,” said Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, who was himself appointed only in April. “When I came in he pretty much ran the entire set-up. He never gave the guarantee of, ‘I will definitely be there for the World Cup’, and that became part of the decision-making process. This team really ran itself with Eoin Morgan. What’s the best way to do it when he’s not there? That’s why Matthew Mott. I wasn’t expecting this, but it was part of the thinking.”

Key has more appointments to make, identifying specialist coaching teams for the red- and white-ball squads as well as a full-time selector. “At the start I wasn’t in a hurry because there’d been a lot of change and new personnel, so I didn’t want to bring another person in who was new to the environment,” Key said of the selector role, which he is doing himself while assessing options. Specialist coaching teams, meanwhile, “will come towards the end of the summer”.

Buttler’s side played India at Lord’s on Thursday in the second of three ODIs in a hectic summer across all formats. One of the key issues facing the team concerns the allocation of player resources, with the sheer amount of fixtures making it impossible for any individual to play every game and focus destined to shift from Tests to T20s before October’s World Cup in Australia. The squads for the imminent white-ball series against South Africa are due to be chosen on Friday.

Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes played at Lord’s having also appeared in this summer’s four Test matches, but Key said he was not worried about the possibility of overworking them. “The ones [where] it becomes an issue are Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, your fast bowlers,” Key said. “The problem will come if they are all fit, then you’ve got a decision to make – can they play every Test match? Can they play every white-ball game? But at the moment none of them are fit.”

On Monday it will be a year since Archer, currently out with a stress fracture to the lower back, played a competitive game for club or country but Key still expects him to appear for England in every format. “I’m hopeful he will be involved in everything,” Key said. “Unless someone who knows a lot more about backs and injuries [tells me otherwise] I am not going to change my view on that.”