Turning it round- lessons from English Cricket



I can’t think of a a better example of turning things round than the English one day cricket team.

Earlier this year I was embarrassed to be an English cricket fan, this morning I am reading of us winning the one day international series against New Zealand with pride.

If as a 50 year old part timer who is now being asked to umpire rather than play, I can feel refreshed, imagine what it must be like to be a youngster (like my son) cricket-mad and in love with a game that still has a value-set any parent could be proud of.


What’s clear is that this started with the management of our one day side stepping aside to let a new breed of players take control. The way this was done, wasn’t clever but now it has been completed, it’s clear that England have a number of very fine batsmen and bowlers to rival the best in the world (New Zealand and Australia). Australia is the next test – bring it on.

If it started with the management , it was fulfilled by a few players bringing a positivity to each game which has been infectious. Chief among them must be Joe Root, I watched him before and after he played a good innings at Southampton on Sunday. The guy radiates enthusiasm, the team happens around him. Nurturing and encouraging this young group of players is what the current management have to do, but they need to do no more than allow them their heads.


Many organisations have old crusty management that cannot recognise the talent within them. Many youngsters are held back from making their contributions just as Wood, Bairstow, Morgan, Billings  and  Roy have been marginalised. I think of the ways youngsters are getting round this, of Will Lovegrove and his mates at pensionsync, at the youngsters coming through at L&G – I hope the Pension PlayPen will be seen in the same light.

John Keats died before he was thirty, so did Amy Winehouse, Curt Cobain and Ian Curtis. We look back and absorb their youthful achievements into the pantheon of cultural achievement. Sometimes we regret we did not hear them in later life though a more positive view is to celebrate what they have left us (though so young).

I’m really excited that on Wednesday, I’ve been asked to be at a discussion on the future of auto-enrolment set up by Ros Altmann. This is a chance for me to point to those that Ros has within her own department who are young, gifted and willing.

The answer to the issues of the next few years, is to listen to those who are under thirty, who have more to say than those of us over fifty. The media that they use to play the message has changed, the mechanisms with which we talk have changed, the means to make things happen have changed.

To understand how to make auto-enrolment work – and a whole lot more, we should be talking to the snapchat generation and giving them some influence. If the English cricket team can be turned round as it has been, so can the mob that run our pensions!


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Turning it round- lessons from English Cricket

  1. George Kirrin says:

    Not sure this is such a great example, Henry.

    Duckworth-Lewis was used, and I prefer the Australian description of such short-term cricket as “a bash” rather than the real thing.

    The analogy with pensions would be stronger for me if measured over a century or more, rather than just over a few dozen overs with a pockled, artificial outcome.

  2. Bob Scott says:

    This is an amusing analogy, Henry. But pensions are a long-term project not a 50-over bash. And just throwing youngsters to the fray won’t necessarily lead to success.

    First you need the right structure. No unnecessary barriers, hurdles or bureaucracy to hold them back.

    Then they need to see what success looks like and model their own contributions on that successful structure.

    Finally, even the most successful players will taste disappointment and failure from time to time. How they bounce back from those setbacks is a significant test of their character.

    So, to give auto-enrolment (or a different structure like DA or collective DC) the best chance to work we need: no unnecessary restrictions or burdensome regulations; no stultifying tax legislation; and a sight of what “success” looks like.
    Then the new ideas, innovation and inspiration will have a chance to work. And, if a good idea doesn’t work instantly, that’s not necessarily a reason to discard it.

    As an Australian and a cricket fan I hope that England’s cricket team continues to develop. It would be boring if Australia won the Ashes 5-0 again. A close-fought series 3-2 would be much better.

    And, as someone who has worked in pensions for many years, I hope that Government regulation and the Treasury’s need for tax revenues doesn’t neutralise the good that the 2014 budget changes have done.

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