Bayliss all set for a warm home­com­ing

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Richard Ed­wards

THE Aussies are pre­par­ing to roll out the red car­pet for Trevor Bayliss as he pre­pares to lead Eng­land Down Un­der this win­ter – but they’re warn­ing him to ex­pect an­other 5-0 thrash­ing.

Bayliss will be the first Aussie to lead Eng­land on an Ashes tour and will un­ques­tion­ably be the most pop­u­lar coach to step off the plane on Aus­tralian soil wear­ing an Eng­land track­suit.

But while there will be plenty of peo­ple wish­ing the New South Welsh­man well, Mike Whit­ney, a for­mer team-mate and long-time friend of a man he calls TB, laughs that the good­will will only ex­tend un­til the open­ing morn­ing of the first Test at the Gabba.

“He’s a great bloke, a lovely guy,” says Whit­ney. “He’ll be wel­comed home with open-arms be­cause ev­ery­body does love TB. I was hum­bled to play with the bloke for ten years and he was a fan­tas­tic New South Wales crick­eter.

“He was a very good run scorer; one of the best we ever had in the field and he could bowl some seam­ers as well. He was just a won­der­ful bloke to be around.

“He was fairly quiet, that’s his de­meanor – he left all the ac­tiv­ity in the dress­ing room to me and Greg Matthews.

“I think ev­ery­body re­spects that he’s one of the best coaches in the world and the Eng­land job is ob­vi­ously a very pres­ti­gious one. I think the Aussies will wel­come him with open-arms but hope he gets beat 5-0!”

That hasn’t been an un­fa­mil­iar score­line for Eng­land fans to stom­ach in re­cent years, with two of the last three se­ries fin­ish­ing in uned­i­fy­ing white­washes.

The po­ten­tial ab­sence of Ben Stokes for at least part of the tour has now raised ex­pec­ta­tions Down Un­der that his­tory could well re­peat it­self in the com­ing months, par­tic­u­larly given the chaos that has sur­rounded the Eng­land team since that now in­fa­mous night in Bris­tol.

Bayliss has main­tained a typ­i­cally re­served coun­sel in the mean­time, de­spite the talks of cur­fews and tighter mon­i­tor­ing of play­ers’ off-pitch be­hav­iour. The Aus­tralian has, for the most part, al­lowed this Eng­land team greater free­dom to ex­press them­selves since tak­ing over the role be­fore the 2015 Ashes se­ries on home soil.

Whit­ney, though, be­lieves that Bayliss won’t be forced into a knee­jerk re­ac­tion re­gard­less of what tran­spires in the run-up to Eng­land head­ing to Aus­tralia.

“I’m pretty sure he’ll be dis­ap­pointed in Ben,” he says. “Ob­vi­ously we don’t know what has gone on be­fore, but Trevor would have taken it pretty hard. Ben Stokes is a fab­u­lous crick­eter – he’s a bat­ter who can win you the game and a bowler who can bowl a dev­as­tat­ing spell like Botham could. He’s an ab­so­lute gun and you’ve re­ally got to pick two blokes to re­place him.

“If he doesn’t come then that’s a big hole (to fill), but I’ve known Trevor since the mid-1980s and he’s very level-headed. He’s still got a lot of Aussie bush in him and he’s not one to make an emo­tional de­ci­sion. He’ll al­ready have plans in place no mat­ter what hap­pens, don’t you worry about that.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Wel­come home: Trevor Bayliss will re­turn to Aus­tralia with Eng­land this win­ter

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