Mott, 48, coached Australia’s record-breaking women’s side from 2015 until their victory in this year’s World Cup final but decided to apply for the vacancy with the men’s team after Justin Langer’s departure. Speaking in Amstelveen ahead of England’s three-match ODI series against the Netherlands, Mott said that he had applied with low expectations and that his details had been kept on file by the recruitment company running both processes.
“I actually applied for the Australian role when Andrew McDonald got it,” Mott told the PA news agency. “To be honest, I didn’t think I was a realistic chance of getting it: I knew he was doing a good job [as assistant coach] and there was a fair chance that it would stay like that but I thought it was an opportunity to test myself. I hadn’t interviewed for seven or eight years either, so just to try that.
“But as it turned out there was some connection with the two companies that ran the process, they actually put me on a shortlist for the England job, so once that opportunity came up, I was very excited.
“I’ve known Rob [Key] a long time: I haven’t spent a lot of time with him but our connection goes a long way back and I always had a lot of respect for him as a captain, so I thought he’d be pretty good to work with as well. Once I knew Brendon [McCullum] got the role as well, it seemed like all the stars aligned and it was going to be a good, new mix and people I had a rapport with and respect for. It felt like a pretty exciting challenge ahead.”
England have not split their coaching roles along format lines since 2012-14, when Andy Flower (Test) and Ashley Giles (limited-overs) shared the jobs with limited success, but Mott said that along with Key and McCullum, he would find a way to make the system work by looking at “the bigger picture”.
“You need a healthy respect for the other person and to understand your own bias,” he said. “We’re all going to want what’s best for our team but that’s where I suppose Rob plays a key role, managing the expectations of both coaches. At some point there’s always going to have to be greater emphasis on one of the formats and whether you’re leading into a World Cup or a big Test series, that clarity on who has priority there is really important.
“It can’t be equal all the time because it won’t work. It’s really clear at the moment the Test series is taking a bit of priority – it’s a big Test series in the context of where England’s at in the red-ball [game]. As we get closer to the T20 World Cup, I’m sure the white-ball team will probably get a greater say in the picking of the players. That’s all to be managed well and you’ve just got to park your ego sometimes and look at the bigger picture and between the three of us, we can certainly work that out.”
“It’s something that Morgs and I have already discussed: he always says he wants to be picked as a batter in that team on form and merit all the way through and when he feels that’s not the case then he would step aside,” Mott said. “I think that’s a long way off being at that point.
“Great players go through runs at different times and sometimes you flick a switch and it turns and you wonder what all the fuss has been about. Watching him bat [in the nets] today, he’s in pretty good positions, he’s going well and you can already tell what a profound influence he has on the leadership of this group.
“He hasn’t spoken a lot yet but you can tell when he speaks, everybody is listening. That leadership is something that’s probably not as recognised as much from the outside as it is inside. He’s got a lot of great cricket ahead of him.
“When I took over the Australia women’s team, they were used to winning and so there’s that pressure of expectation straight away which is a good thing. Expectation is a privilege which is not afforded to too many. I’d rather it that way. This team has functioned well, there’s no doubt about that, but where you want to be is competing in all the finals all the time – that’s the next frontier.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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