The evening after Australia won the World Cup final against England last month, after the celebrations had started to die down, Matthew Mott sat down in a restaurant in Christchurch with his support crew and let his mind drift.
Australia’s run at the World Cup had been flawless; a classic example of a masterful team executing at every turn and reaching the peak of their powers at the perfect time.
It had also marked the end point of almost five years of chasing redemption from a humiliating semi-final at the 2017 tournament, a result that provided this team with the rudder and drive to reach unprecedented heights. in the one day game. , and culminated with the dominant run of the World Cup unbeaten in New Zealand.
Over dinner of steak and a few glasses of red wine, Mott enjoyed the company of close colleagues, some of whom had traveled the entire term of his term. As he looked around he was struck by a sensation.
“I had a sixth sense,” Mott told cricket.com.au. “It was a really good night, a really good dinner, and something inside of me was like, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do this much more.
“I hadn’t left for work (in England) at this stage, but there was something there, it was like, This might be the right time, and I haven’t had this feeling before.
“So I think it’s the right time, and I think they’re in really good shape to continue to be successful. I’m going to miss them a lot, but it can’t last forever.”
Mott had always been philosophical about it. For two years, he had been working on an exit strategy with National and High Performance Teams boss Ben Oliver that would allow the change in management to happen with minimal disruption. So when the position of head coach of England’s men’s white ball teams became vacant at what already seemed like “the right time” to leave, the stars seemed to align.
In a way, it’s ironic that Mott was even a strong contender for such a prestigious role, given that it reflects the revolutionary path taken by women’s football in recent years and her undeniably influential role in that revolution.
While the 48-year-old would be the first to bestow the accolades for success on his players, just as he credits Cricket Australia with the landmark pay deal that changed the landscape of the game for women in this country, his fingerprints on the all-conquering national sides are evident wherever you look closely.
They’re there in the way Beth Mooney transformed from a frustrated hitting guard into one of the world’s elite hitting and defensive hitting; they are there in the way Ashleigh Gardner’s unique talents were harnessed instead of wasted, as they might have been with less considered advice; they’re there in how Alyssa Healy found solace and confidence in creating a warmer, more inclusive team environment, was raised in the order, and perhaps became the ball-striker most dangerous white woman in the world; and there they are in the way, through Australia’s golden race, a new generation has been trickled into the setup, strategically introduced with the aim of maintaining success in the present and the future.
But now Mott’s future is here. Next Wednesday he will fly to the UK before joining world champions ODI for a three-match series against the Netherlands next month. But the formative steps towards the plot for the next 18 months, which include the World Cups in both shorthand formats, have already been taken, while the Dutch series will also serve as a meet and greet for Mott and the squad. England ODI he is. to inherit.
“Eoin (Morgan, England white ball captain) and I talked last night about how to create opportunities to (implement) some of the messages I believe in (during the Netherlands series) and see where is that alignment,” he says.
“We seem very aligned with our overall philosophy and how we think the team should play, but it would be nice to just have the opportunity in the player group to talk about it a bit more, to respond to any questions and just expand that link.”
Morgan, with his experience and smart leadership, seems like an ideal figure to ease Mott’s break-in period which, given the majors looming, will need to be brief. The benchmark for England now, after their breakthrough 50+ title in 2019 and their formidable T20 roster, is nothing short of major silverware, while the longer term plan for the BCE, says Mott, is pushing for dynastic success.
With three world titles to his name in four years, it’s something he knows perhaps more than any current national manager, and it was undoubtedly a key part of his appeal to England. .
“A lot of the questions asked in interviews were about, ‘How do you think the team will move forward?'” he said. “And I see a lot of similarities (between the Australian women’s and England men’s teams); taking over a pretty good team that is well placed, with a good leader in Eoin Morgan.
“So the team is working quite well, it’s just a matter of how we get those extra wins, because that lasting success is what England craves.
“They’re quite comfortable having a good squad and depth, but trying to get into every tournament is what they want to do.
“Hopefully the experiences I’ve had with what we’ve done (with Australia) might just add another layer to that.”
Mott’s framing of England’s ambition with the word ‘compete’ might contradict that aforementioned reference, but he insists the binaries of winning and losing were rarely discussed during his seven-year tenure with Australia. Instead, success has been achieved through a proven method of focusing on the present.
“I don’t think internally with the women’s team we ever really talked about winning World Cups,” he explained. “It was more like staying present, staying in the moment, and if you keep doing that, day in and day out, the end result falls on you.
“That was part of being successful, and a big part of that was that it wasn’t just me saying that – it was the whole band saying, ‘Let’s not go too far ahead of us, there’s a lot of cricket to play in between…if we can be really good today and better tomorrow it will only add up”.
“Even that run we had at ODI cricket, breaking the record was never discussed internally. I don’t remember anyone really talking about it, but we talked a lot about ‘Well, the next one. game we’ll be playing in India – how did we beat them?”
As Mott prepares to instill that mindset in his players, it’s hard for the rest of us not to take a look five months from now when he returns to these shores with a team of… England who will have every chance of toppling the T20 world champions in their own backyard. He feels well equipped to ‘dispel some of the myths on certain grounds’ for his players as they look to improve on their semi-final outing in the United Arab Emirates last year and join the Australian women as the only teams. to hold the two blanks. -ball world titles at once.
“When you step into those roles, it’s those big events that you put in the forefront of your mind and try to make sure that you have a very clear plan of what the team might look like, and what the and ifs ?” he says.
“I’m really comfortable with the discussions I’ve had with Eoin and (new England men’s cricket general manager) Rob Key already about this.”
And so Mott enters his new role buoyed by the security of his past, and knowing that the scenarios England will face and the aspirations he has are all challenges he has already successfully overcome. But as he takes on one of the most demanding jobs in cricket, he is also acutely aware that his story will only last for a very long time.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for the exam level – not many people would be,” he says. “I will do my best. I will consult a lot and I will collaborate with all the key people, but we are going to make mistakes, and when you do, you just have to do it.
“But I don’t think I’ll read too much social media. You just have to do what you think is right, and whether it’s good press or bad press, take both with a grain of salt.
“One of the great quotes I’ve heard is from (legendary NRL manager) Wayne Bennett, who said, ‘If you start listening to the fans, you’ll soon be sitting down with them.’