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It’s time for England to sack Matthew Mott – and bring in Brendon McCullum

This team needs a real leader who can consistently bring the best out of this group. Results over the past few months have proven once and for all that Mott is not that man

England may have shown some much-needed form to win two games during their Twenty20 series against the West Indies. But in the famous words of coach Matthew Mott after the atrocious Cricket World Cup campaign in India – whatever.

Defeat in the final T20 in Trinidad on Thursday might not quite have been the nightmare before Christmas for England but it restored the status quo of a miserable white-ball winter.

England can take steps forward, as they did thanks to two exhilarating Phil Salt centuries in back-to-back games against the West Indies to draw level at 2-2 in the T20 series.

Yet they reverted to type in the decider, stumbling to 132 all out as they slumped to a four-wicket defeat on Thursday night. This was England’s 11th defeat in 17 games across formats since the start of the 50-over World Cup in October.

After that utterly horrendous campaign in India, they can now add series defeats in the ODIs and T20s on this tour against a team who are ranked below them in both formats.

With a T20 World Cup starting back in the Caribbean and United States in just over five months, it is time to take action.

Mott constantly talks about “learnings”. He did so in his petulant final media call in India, where he refused to reveal exactly what he had learned. “Whatever” was his response when asked if he didn’t have a duty to share his wisdom with England fans.

He was at it again in Trinidad after this 3-2 series defeat.

“We really could not have got many more lessons from this tour,” he said. “There’s some exciting things in the pipeline.”

Most England fans will be hoping those exciting things include Mott being given his P45 from England’s director of cricket Rob Key. Indeed, it is a Christmas miracle he hasn’t already got it.

There have been so many learnings for England during their horrific run of recent form that it would be tempting to say they have been schooled. And Mott has taken so many learnings from defeats in recent months he could gain a first-class Masters degree in losing.

The numbers are not pretty. Since the start of the World Cup, England have lost 11 matches out of 17 across ODI and T20 cricket. That is a win percentage of 35.29 per cent. For context, Peter Moores, who presided over England’s 2015 ODI World Cup fiasco, had a win percentage of 38.96 per cent in white-ball cricket across his two spells in charge of the team.

Jos Buttler leaves the field after being dismissed (Photo: Getty)
Jos Buttler leaves the field after being dismissed (Photo: Getty)

England started the year as world champions in both formats. But a torrid 12 months has seen them lose one of those titles and they look unlikely to hold on to their T20 crown next summer if they carry on like this.

In 2023, England have won 15 games across both white-ball formats and lost 20. For a team who started at such a high level, this has been a damning fall from grace.

The talent within the squad is there for all to see. Salt has been fantastic, Buttler has belatedly regained some form and Adil Rashid, the No 1-ranked bowler in T20s, is as excellent as ever.

So talented is this group that even a festive Yule log could win some games if it was appointed coach. This team needs a real leader who can consistently bring the best out of this group. Results over the past few months have proven once and for all that Mott is not that man.

The Australian was in charge when England won the T20 World Cup in Australia last year. But what do they say about monkeys, typewriters and Shakespeare?

England might, if everything aligned perfectly, win the tournament again next June in the Caribbean and USA.

But it is unlikely under this current regime.

Buttler, whose captaincy has been poor this winter, deserves a chance to carry on until the end of that next T20 World Cup. But Mott? He will probably get the chance but at what cost?

This week alone, speaking before England’s defeat in the deciding T20, he admitted he has no control over results.

He also said: “It’s a newish group and it needs to be treated like that,” adding that because of that “I don’t think you’re really concerned by the win-loss ratio as much.”

Just to note, eight of the XI for the decider in Trinidad also played in the World Cup final. To say it is a “newish group” is disingenuous and yet another excuse for poor results.

Just days after Key admitted England were reluctant to put a timeline on Jofra Archer’s comeback from his long-term elbow injury, Mott also talked up the fast bowler playing in the T20 World Cup. Of course, that is the hope. But to state it publicly smacks of desperation.

England have penned themselves into a corner over Mott. With just four T20s against Pakistan at home before they depart for the World Cup, there is little time for a newcomer to take over.

One option would be to sack Mott and bring in Test coach Brendon McCullum, someone universally respected and who knows the players, on an interim basis just for the World Cup. That would give Key time to find a suitable replacement.

The alternative is to carry on as we are and to have this conversation all over again at the start of July. It would be far easier, and make much more sense, to rip the band-aid off now.

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