Rise of cricket officials and fall of the game
When England crashed out of the pre-quarters at the 2015 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) knew it was time for an overhaul. It started with stepping down of Giles Clarke, the ECB's Chairman of eight years, followed by the removal of Managing Director Paul Downton and Head Coach Peter Moores - the two officials seen as chiefly responsible for England's catastrophic campaign at the mega event.
With the new Chairman Colin Graves now firmly in place, the ECB think-tank went about the challenging task of revamping England cricket in a highly professional manner. A lot of serious thought, strategy and planning went into the process. Catching a nerve with English cricket, the think-tank felt that everyone including the England captain, its players and the coaching staff ought to be made accountable to some authority - a vastly experienced, respected individual who possesses proven administrative and motivational skills.
Soon afterwards, a newly-created position of Director of Cricket saw ex-skipper Andrew Strauss taking charge. Described by ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison as 'an authoritative voice on the modern game with a wealth of experience in building successful teams', Strauss in effect assumed the role of a high-performance manager - a concept borrowed in cricket from rugby over the years.
Ten months down the line, a mere glance at England's impressive victory graph shows how brilliantly Strauss has performed in his job. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, England have shrugged off the World Cup disaster to become a feared rival for all opposition.
Starting May 2015 to date, England have beaten New Zealand and Australia in Tests at home and South Africa on their own turf. Besides, they have won eight ODIs and five T20 games against major outfits like New Zealand, Australia and, of course, Pakistan in rather unfavourable conditions in the UAE. Such achievements have almost completely erased the unpleasant memories of England's World Cup ouster, re-establishing them as a top ranking side. New Zealand, too, have gone about a similar revamp following their horrific tour of South Africa back in 2013 and today, their attacking brand of cricket has fetched them unprecedented success. As for chief selector Haroon Rasheed, the less said the better. The former batsman has made a mockery of his office by conceding his authority too readily to the team management, and more recently by jumping the bandwagon of coaches aspiring to sign up for cash-rich PSL.