Moores mystified by English malaise
8:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Peter Moores admits he has yet to figure out whether England's whitewash Ashes defeat has left him with a clutch of cricketers with their best days behind them.
Moores has unequivocally backed captain Alastair Cook as the right man to help him take England into a new era.
Yet he concedes it is an unfathomable conundrum whether or not Cook, and others who played alongside him in England's descent to a 5-0 trouncing last winter, can rediscover the standards they once set.
Many of the early signs are far from encouraging as Cook, for example, battles to regain the run-scoring knack which has made him England's most prolific all-time centurion.
He has made a paltry 129 runs in nine attempts at the top of the order this year, dating back to the final Ashes Test in Sydney, and has also led England - including last winter's woes - to seven defeats in nine matches.
Asked if the 2013-14 debacle may continue to have a long-term effect on a generation of cricketers who travelled south with such hope, Moores said: "It's one of those questions you can never answer.
"The winter was tough. For some people, it will forge them and make them better over time; for some, it might not.
"It depends how you respond to it.
"But it was a tough experience - of that, there is no doubt."
Others who endured the Ashes are among those finding it most difficult so far this summer.
Matt Prior was dropped in Melbourne, recalled in the Moores regime and - after four Tests - has decided he can no longer do himself justice while injuries compromise him.
While the wicketkeeper takes the remainder of the Test summer off - he will be replaced by debutant Jos Buttler, named in England's 13-man squad for Sunday's third Investec Test against India in Southampton - frontline pace pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad also have questions to answer.
"We all know Test cricket is a challenge the longer you're in it," Moores added.
"What has got to happen is the senior players have got to look at their own games and decide how they are going to come back and play to the level needed to be in a successful England team.
"They will be desperate to start to make a really big contribution.
"It's been a frustration for them, as well as everybody else."
England's 95-run defeat at Lord's on Monday leaves them 1-0 down, with three to play and much to prove.
To that end, Moores acknowledges he must ask as much of himself as he does the players.
"Of course, I back myself as a coach. If I didn't, I wouldn't do the job," Moores added.
"If you're worth your salt, you're going to reflect on your bit - 'what could I have done better?'
"If you didn't, you're not going to keep improving. We ask players to improve, so coaches have to."
The same goes for Cook.
"We have some things to sort out, and we're not going to hide from any of that - and Alastair doesn't want to hide from it," Moores said.
"It's key that we look back honestly, and start to move forward as we need to.
"Cookie carries an enormous amount of respect in that dressing room.
"My job is to support him."