Mott hits right notes with Buttler as coach lifts second World Cup at the MCG

For the second time in less than three years, Matthew Mott held a World Cup aloft at the MCG.

In March 2020, it was the history-making performance of Australia’s women’s team, in front of 86,174 spectators, and a few days ago the England men’s team became the first male side to hold both World Cups at the same time to forge their own legacy.

“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” Mott told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday. “It was an amazing event, again. I probably never thought I’d coach either team, really, so to coach them both to a trophy is something very special.”

Mott’s time with Australia came to end after their ODI World Cup victory in New Zealand as they, too, were able to unite the two pieces of limited-overs silverware. He was interviewed for the Australia men’s position when Justin Langer was forced out, but that was always going to Andrew McDonald (do not be surprised, though, if it’s Mott’s job in the future).

The time was right to bring an end to a storied run with Meg Lanning’s team and England’s interest was impossible to ignore. But even though he was moving into another set-up that had enjoyed white-ball success, had immense depth and were going to be one of the tournament favourites, a lot had to go right to win a World Cup at the first time of asking, particularly after things had gone wrong.

While Australia’s title in 2020 and this one for England have not quite followed the same path, they both became fraught affairs. Australia were beaten by India in their opening match and couldn’t afford another defeat; England’s loss to Ireland at the MCG left them in a similar position.

“They are interesting tournaments,” Mott said. “There’s so much that can go right or wrong. Run rate is such a big thing that’s looming. To get out of a very strong group, there was a lot of relief after that. Once you get to the semi-finals and finals you play a slightly different brand of cricket, you can actually relax a little more. Think the team thrives on that.”

“I think England’s depth is incredible. If you look at all the players who missed out in that team – Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Reece Topley – and even the quality that was still sat on the bench, David Willey has done nothing wrong at all and we couldn’t squeeze him in.

“Probably the most pleasing thing – everyone talks a lot about the batting – but with Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, there’s now incredible depth in the bowling. Thought Adil Rashid had an amazing tournament. Think the way we adapted was key. In tournaments like this you will always lose a couple of players, but if you don’t panic and give other players an opportunity it really adds to the group.”

Mott only started working with England in June on a short tour of Netherlands which ended with Eoin Morgan’s retirement from international cricket. Mott sensed it could be coming, but it still meant there was an entirely new captain-coach axis as Jos Buttler took over four months before the World Cup. The home summer was a stuttering affair as three of the four series against India and South Africa were lost.

However, things started to come together in Pakistan, even though Buttler wasn’t playing. Mott pinpointed that trip as vital to what has played out in Australia, lauding Buttler’s decision to go on the tour. Their relationship was strengthened while Mott also believes the development of Buttler’s captaincy was aided by watching Moeen Ali.

“Any time with a captain-coach relationship it takes time to build that trust,” Mott said. “I hadn’t really known Jos before I was in this role. Like any good working relationship, you have to build trust in each other. I really felt the best thing for us was when Jos selflessly said he’d come to Pakistan even though he wasn’t going to play.

“He just wanted to observe and his relationship with Moeen Ali was strengthened over there, it was a brilliant. That really set the tone for us, to build a team around him. He observed a lot from Moeen’s captaincy and [I] think he took a lot out of that. He added an extra layer of calmness and assuredness.”

In 2020, the destiny of the title had been all but decided by the batting of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney. Mott subsequently said he was even able to give himself a moment to soak in the experience that day. This time it was rather different, a tense affair that was only really decided when Shaheen Afridi limped off and Ben Stokes seized the moment.

Mott caught up with a number of the Australians over the last few weeks and many of them sent him messages before the final. “Felt like in a strange way they shared in that even though it was England,” he said. “At least they had someone to cheer for in the final.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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