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Has Chris Silverwood got the credentials to make England great again?

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Oct 8, 2019

New coach’s priority is to re-establish England as a batting force in Test cricket

England cricket head coach Chris Silverwood

England have named Chris Silverwood as their new head coach following the departure of Trevor Bayliss this summer. His salary is about £500,000 a year, the same as Bayliss, plus performance bonuses.

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The 44-year-old Silverwood played six Tests between 1996 and 2002, and joined the England set-up as bowling coach in January 2018 having led Essex to the County Championship title as head coach in 2017.

He is only the second Englishman to coach the national side in almost 20 years and fans will hope he meets with more success than his predecessor, Peter Moores, who quit in 2015 after a shambolic World Cup campaign.

Describing Silverwood as the “outstanding candidate” in a field that only really included South African Gary Kirsten, England director of cricket Ashley Giles said: “Chris demonstrated in his interview a clear understanding and strategy of how both the red- and white-ball teams need to evolve.

“He has some detailed thoughts on what it will take to win the Ashes in Australia and win major ICC white-ball tournaments.”

Poor presentation

According to the Daily Mail, Kirsten, a former Test match opening batsman, lost out to Silverwood through a combination of complacency and stolidity.

“Arriving in England a week ago for his interview, he was under the impression that the job was his,” said the Mail.

“Instead of an all-singing powerpoint presentation of the kind that goes down so well in the corporate world, he depicted himself as someone who would get the job done once appointed.”

Mixed results

Bayliss left after four years at the helm, which included the highs of a first Cricket World Cup triumph and a low of losing the Ashes to Australia down under in 2018 and failing to recapture them in the recent home series.

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Those series have been characterised by some woeful batting collapses, and Silverwood’s priority is to re-establish England as a serious batting force.

Hard taskmaster

“I aim to continue the great work that has been done over the past five years and build on our future, especially in the Test arena,” said Silverwood, who will lead England to New Zealand next month where they play five Twenty20s and two Test matches.

“I am excited to get started and build teams that the whole game can be proud of. There is a tremendous amount of talent coming through, and there is enormous potential for growth. The hard work starts now.”

Pundit reactions to Silverwood’s appointment

Nasser Hussain, Sky Sports

“He’s someone who seems to ask the right questions, at the right time. He’s that type of coach – he’s not an in-your-face type… his man-management is absolutely first class.”

Michael Vaughan, The Daily Telegraph

“I am surprised Chris Silverwood has been appointed the England head coach. Looking from the outside it appeared to me that Gary Kirsten was the outstanding candidate… Batting has been England’s weakness in Test cricket for some time. What is Kirsten’s great area of knowledge?”

Mike Atherton, The Times

“[Silverwood’s] appointment to the role of England head coach feels like a missed opportunity to reorder the coaching set-up so that it is nimbler and more dynamic, and to welcome a fresh voice and new ideas to the dressing room.”

Lawrence Booth, Daily Mail

“[Kirsten’s] expertise as a Test-match opener would have been a good fit for England’s new-look top order, especially at a time when managing director Ashley Giles has promised to refocus on red-ball cricket after this summer’s World Cup triumph.”

Vic Marks, The Guardian

“This is a massive step up… he has impressed with his composed straight talking in his limited dealings with the press, but he will soon discover that when the plans go awry and those skills are not being executed quite as well as expected – the brickbats now head in his direction.”

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