I feel sorry for Trevor Bayliss. The system he has put in place as England head coach is the right one but ultimately certain players have let him down.
He has taken a lot of flak during the Ashes, both for results and his coaching style, although England’s 4-0 defeat is not down to management. They have simply been outplayed by Australia, who have a better set of players for the conditions.
People criticise him for being too hands-off but he has given responsibility to the players, made them feel relaxed and, as a former England international, I know how important that is; you don’t want to feel like you’re at school or being tied down.
I’m all in favour of Bayliss, who I worked under during a stint with the Sydney Sixers, and believe he has done exceptionally well since his appointment in 2015, especially in white-ball cricket, where the improvement has been stark.
He has changed the culture of the team environment and the attitude of the squad – a fact emphasised by one-day vice-captain Jos Buttler, who came out in support of Bayliss on Tuesday.
Granted, such progress has not been matched in the Test arena but I definitely feel there have been some advances and it should be remembered that England were in a pretty down-and-out state before his appointment.
I’m not sure why he felt the need to announce now that he intends to leave his role when his contract expires after the next Ashes series in September 2019. I don’t think he needed to but some people just like to lay their cards on the table.
In terms of his decision itself, I do think it is probably the right one, purely on the basis of coaches having shelf-lives, and in my view four to five years is about right.
Australia boss Darren Lehmann confirmed his intention to leave his role in 2019 also, having been appointed in 2013, and I think it’s hard for a coach to maintain their standards for a longer period of time.
I wouldn’t think that Bayliss outlining his plans would undermine his authority, and if I was still a player in the set-up I would not change my approach or view the coach any differently.
Bayliss’s decision perhaps also gives the England and Wales Cricket Board the flexibility to allow the Australian’s successor to work alongside him in the build-up to his departure so the team can be developed with a transition of coach in mind.