Bayliss ad­mits to a tough pe­riod for the Test side and marks him­self as only a ‘five out of 10’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Cricket - By Tim Wig­more

A lit­tle over four years ago, Trevor Bayliss ar­rived as Eng­land head coach just be­fore a home Ashes se­ries. Now, the fi­nal Test of this Ashes sum­mer will mark Bayliss’s 59th, and fi­nal, Test as Eng­land head coach.

“I’m a hard marker, so I’ll say five,” Bayliss joked when ask to mark his tenure out of 10. “Well, I gave the guys four or five and six out of 10 for their field­ing be­cause I al­ways thought there was al­ways room for im­prove­ment. If you give them eight, nine or 10, there’s no room for im­prove­ment, is there?”

Af­ter a sum­mer which has brought the delir­ium of Eng­land’s World Cup vic­tory – the task for which he was hired, and for which he re­ceived a hearty bonus – Bayliss said that now was “the nat­u­ral time to go” and end his stint in charge.

“I’ve never spent more than four or five years some­where, whether you’re do­ing well or not. It’s time for the lads to hear a new voice.

“Whether you’re do­ing well or not, you never want to be­come part of a prob­lem. If you stay too long, that’s what can hap­pen.”

Be­fore leav­ing Aus­tralia for Eng­land this sum­mer, Bayliss tar­geted win­ning at least one of the World Cup and Ashes. “I said to my wife be­fore I came over, I’d love to win at least one of the tro­phies. When we won the first one, the World Cup, I felt a bit greedy. I would have loved to have gone out on a high.”

The con­trast­ing fortunes of Eng­land’s Test and one-day in­ter­na­tional sides this sum­mer are a mi­cro­cosm of those in Bayliss’s regime. While Eng­land are first in the ODI rank­ings, they are fourth in Tests, and on the brink of los­ing at home to Aus­tralia for the first time since 2001. Bayliss ad­mit­ted: “Test cricket hasn’t gone as well as we would have liked. Try­ing to find the depth in our Test ranks will be a chal­lenge go­ing for­ward.

“It’s been a very tough pe­riod. The depth of play­ers we’ve got to play Test cricket, ready-made, is not as deep as in the one-day team. So it has been dif­fi­cult. We haven’t won as many games as we’d like.”

Like many Eng­land coaches be­fore him, Bayliss sug­gested that county cricket was not pro­duc­ing a good enough cal­i­bre of play­ers, with the paucity of high-qual­ity bats­men a par­tic­u­lar con­cern.

“The only ques­tions you’ve got to ask is, ‘Is the com­pe­ti­tion underneath do­ing the job well enough?’ There are some tal­ented play­ers and coaches. Is the com­pe­ti­tion do­ing the job? Can we do it bet­ter? What we’ve got to do is work out a way of how to work with these young blokes so they can learn to

play the ball later. That gets back to the wick­ets we play on, the strength of com­pe­ti­tion. Can it be bet­ter?”

Bayliss said that, while Joe Root had not en­joyed the suc­cess of Eoin Mor­gan in the ODI side, he was “un­der no pres­sure at all”.

“The two cap­tains are dif­fer­ent. There are two dif­fer­ent games, two dif­fer­ent ap­proaches needed. Eoin suited the white-ball team and I think Joe is cer­tainly grow­ing into the Test team as well.”

For Bayliss’s fi­nal Test match as Eng­land coach, the main ques­tion is whether Ben Stokes is avail­able to bowl. Stokes bowled in train­ing at the Oval yes­ter­day, but Eng­land are reluc­tant to se­lect only four spe­cial­ist bowlers if there is un­cer­tainly about Stokes’s fit­ness.

While Stokes is cer­tain to play, he could play as a spe­cial­ist bats­man, with an ex­tra bowl­ing all-rounder – Chris Woakes or Sam Cur­ran – be­ing re­called in place of Ja­son Roy. At least one of Woakes and Cur­ran, at his home ground, is likely to play any­way, with Craig Over­ton likely to slip out the side.

And then, Bayliss will re­turn home to Aus­tralia. “For me, I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting home and putting my feet up for a while.”

Hon­est: Trevor Bayliss says Eng­land don’t have strength in depth at Test level

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