Michael Vaughan believes Peter Moores may be on borrowed time as coach if England fail to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals.
Former captain Vaughan described England as “abject” after their embarrassing descent to an eight-wicket trouncing by New Zealand in Wellington and likened aspects of the performance to “surrender”. He also believes the continued absence of the sacked Kevin Pietersen is still a significant issue.
Eoin Morgan’s side were left humiliated as they were skittled for a paltry 123 – England’s lowest World Cup total on foreign soil – before Brendon McCullum’s 18-ball half-century swept New Zealand to the target in just 12.2 overs and before the Regional Stadium lights were even required.
Tim Southee’s vintage display of swing bowling set the stage for McCullum’s ferocious hitting as he first brought England to their knees with 7-33, the best figures by a New Zealand bowler in one-day internationals.
Only Yorkshire’s Joe Root offered resistance, top-scoring with 46 before being last man out.
McCullum then crashed 77 in 25 balls, at one point belting Steven Finn for four successive sixes as his two overs cost 49, to leave England completely awestruck and scrambling to pick up the pieces of another heavy reverse after Australia handed them a 111-run defeat to start the World Cup.
England will barely have time to catch their breath before they meet Scotland in Christchurch on Monday with the weight of pressure now squarely on their shoulders against an Associate nation they will still be expected to beat.
Echoing the remarks of another ex-England batsman, Paul Collingwood, who will be Scotland’s assistant coach when they take on England, former Yorkshire star Vaughan senses only progression to the knockout stages will extend Moores’s second tenure.
Vaughan, by his own admission, did not gel with Moores’s methods when they were captain and coach eight years ago.
He has a different perspective as a pundit these days, but has made it clear in his national newspaper column that he is yet to be impressed second time round either.
“(England and Wales Cricket Board managing director) Paul Downton said Peter Moores is the coach of his generation,” Vaughan wrote.
“But I always say international coaching is about man-management, tactics and skill.
“Peter is not stupid.
“He will know that the Scotland game and the next four matches are massive in his second tenure as coach.
“You don’t get long second time around.”
Moores lost his job in 2009 after an apparent power struggle with Pietersen, Vaughan’s successor as captain.
Since returning after England’s Ashes whitewash in Australia last winter, he has yet to win a one-day international series but finished the 2014 Test summer with victory over India.
England began their World Cup campaign with a 111-run humbling against Australia in Melbourne, and their collapse to defeat in less than half the scheduled playing time to the other co-hosts is a new low.
Vaughan also argues the void left by the record-breaking Pietersen, axed after the Ashes debacle, has not been filled.
“The ECB hate anyone talking about the Pietersen factor and have successfully managed to ensure the mainstream media do not bring him up, but there is no doubt he should be batting in this team,” added Vaughan.
“He should be at this World Cup, playing under Morgan.
“England cannot say it was the right decision to sack him when they are playing like this and losing to New Zealand like they did here.”
England’s latest setback left another former Yorkshire player – Geoff Boycott – in a state of shock.
Boycott is notably rarely lost for words, but he appeared bemused after England were bowled out for just 123 and the Kiwis then charged to victory in such a short space of time to leave their poleaxed opponents bottom of Pool A, below minnows Scotland, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“It’s a bit of a shock,” he said in a radio interview.
“England should have been able to post a really good total, and maybe even bat New Zealand out of the game. But they just collapsed totally.”
Morgan, who chose to bat after winning the toss, spoke at his post-match press conference of the difficulties encountered when the white balls swung much more than England expected.
Boycott, however, believes the captain is “kidding himself” on that score.
He said: “This wasn’t an uncovered pitch, or a grassy pitch, where the ball has seamed and swung all over the place.
“This was a flat 270 pitch, minimum – and we made a right mess of it.”