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Michael Carberry: ‘The way England handled me was abysmal’

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Michael Carberry has strongly criticised the England management, and in particular current the ECB’s managing director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles, for how they handled the end of his international career.

The opener played six Tests in all, including all five games in England’s ill-fated 2013/14 Ashes series against Australia. Though England lost 5-0, Carberry was one of his side’s better performers, but he never again represented his country in Tests.

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with people, and the way England handled me was abysmal, as far as I see it,” he said on the Broken Trophy Podcast. “The series went the way it went, and it wasn’t just my doing that we lost. Actually, to be honest I think I ended up second top run-scorer. Look, at nearly 35 or whatever I was, I needed to know, ‘Where am I going with this?’”

Carberry remained with the squad for the ODI series that followed the Tests, but couldn’t get a game even as England succumbed 4-1. Regular openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell struggled, making two fifties with a high score of 68 between them, and Carberry had scored 47 at nearly a run a ball in a fixture against the Prime Minister’s XI before the series.

“When it got to the last game I remember sitting down with Ashley Giles [England’s white-ball head coach at the time] and asking ‘Where am I going with this really? Am I close or not?’,” he said. “I got runs in the warm-up game, didn’t get a sniff. And he basically just palmed me off. ‘Ah I don’t really know. I’m not sure of my own job.’ There was too much of that for me in the set-up at the time. Coaches worrying about their own job rather than doing their job as a a coach, which is to inform their players as to where they stand, and that’s all I wanted to know. I know you can’t guarantee me that I’m going to play, I just want to know am I close or am I not.”

Carberry spoke out against his treatment in an interview with the Guardian after the tour finished, saying he had heard “nothing – which is disappointing but it’s the way they tend to do things. I don’t think it’s me alone saying this sort of thing. There have been players before me and players now who have felt the same thing.”

He opened up about his decision to speak out, and revealed another interaction with Giles which left him feeling sour. “When we got back to England, I was approached by a journalist and asked ‘Have you heard anything?’ And he found it amazing that I couldn’t make a team, the England team at the time that weren’t winning. So I said, ‘Well no I haven’t heard anything. I’m like you, I watch the TV and I saw my name wasn’t in it.’

“A completely new team had been picked to tour the Caribbean. I actually saw them out there because I was on pre-season tour with Hampshire, and I wasn’t in it. I saw Ashley Giles out there, he saw me, all the rest of the guys came over, gave me a hug, said ‘Sorry you didn’t get in, we couldn’t believe it’, Graham Thorpe who was batting coach and who I knew from my Surrey days came over to try and console me a bit, said ‘Look mate, I’m sorry’. Ashley Giles just scarpered. Didn’t bother coming over, Just left. So that stuck in my mind. So when asked by this journalist, I’m not the kind of person to… I speak my mind, that’s what I do.”

Carberry also said there was plenty still unknown about the saga, making reference to an ‘altercation’ a leaked ECB dossier alleged he had had with Kevin Pietersen, which, according to him, neither party were aware of.

“If the England hierachy got offended, it was more than that because I was slinging mud with them on Kevin Pietersen,” he said, having questioned Pietersen’s axing in the aforementioned Guardian interview. “It was amazing they didn’t mention that they tried to accuse me and Kevin of having a fight or an altercation and yet to this day no one has phoned me to ask about this, but I have no knowledge of this fight, and neither did Kevin. There’s a lot more to this story than what came out.”

Carberry played just one more ODI for England, against Sri Lanka in the summer of 2014.

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