Silverwood’s call England turn to bowling coach after Kirsten bid fails
Yorkshireman succeeds Bayliss in top position Improving fortunes of Test side will be priority
Chris Silverwood is to be appointed England head coach after winning a tight race to replace Trevor Bayliss.
Silverwood’s promotion from bowling coach will mean a return to an English head coach after four years under Bayliss, an Australian, and top of his list of priorities will be to improve the side’s Test cricket.
Silverwood has long been a favourite choice of Ashley Giles, the director of cricket, but the emergence last week of Gary Kirsten as a serious candidate appeared to dent his chances.
Kirsten was in pole position when he indicated he was willing to lead both the Test and one-day sides after previously suggesting he was only interested in a split role.
His impressive CV, which includes taking India and his native South Africa to No 1 in the Test rankings and India to the 2011 World Cup, would have made his appointment a major coup for Giles, and the England and Wales Cricket Board was delighted when Kirsten agreed to fly over for talks.
But he was disappointing in interview, giving an underwhelming presentation, and it emerged there were differences between his expectations of how much time he would be on the road and England’s idea of the level of commitment expected. Kirsten would also have been a more costly appointment, and Giles would not have fancied criticism from within the county game for going overseas again.
Silverwood has been desperate to take the top position and has worked hard under Bayliss in his job as fast-bowling coach since January 2018. He led Essex to the championship title before joining England, having featured in six Tests in a 16-year playing career.
He is liked and respected by the England team, has built up a good relationship with Ed Smith, the national selector, and knows the county game, which was always a weakness for his predecessor.
Fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root likes Silverwood and would have backed his appointment, although with the Test team struggling, someone of Kirsten’s experience would have been useful for the captain, who is yet to really stamp his mark on the side. Silverwood is expected to hold his first press conference on Thursday and outline his plans for the team.
Alec Stewart, the director of cricket at Surrey, was also interviewed last week and the ECB was impressed by his presentation. It is understood he may well have pipped Silverwood to the job if he had not pulled out of the running for family reasons.
Talking last week, Root said he would be consulted on the decision but the final call was made by Giles. “Ash has an exciting but difficult decision to make,” Root said.
“One thing you always want from a new coach is energy and to give a slightly different way of going about things. Trevor made English cricket look at things differently. How can we build on that? I am looking forward to Test cricket becoming more of a priority than it has been over the past couple of years.”
Hard work: Chris Silverwood will be promoted from his current role as fast-bowling coach