Chris Silverwood has been appointed as England’s new head coach and I think the ECB hierarchy have made a good decision.
I came across Silverwood in county cricket and, like others, all the feedback I’ve heard has been positive: he has a simple approach, is a strong communicator and man-manager.
I’ve written previously that England should go for someone similar in outlook to Trevor Bayliss and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Overall Bayliss changed things for the better and although the tactics need to be altered in Test cricket his legacy shouldn’t be discarded.
Silverwood has been inside the set-up for a few years, so knows the system and the players well. A completely fresh face can take two or three series to settle into the role, but that shouldn’t be the case on this occasion.
Stepping up from bowling coach to head coach won’t be an issue either. Some head coaches like to put their stamp on teams, but England have lots of people around in meetings and Bayliss isn’t the authoritative type.
I worked under him at Sydney Sixers and the atmosphere was so relaxed it sometimes felt like a club cricket session.
Silverwood will be taking on more responsibility, becoming the hub of the decision-making and dealing with the media, but his existing relationships with the players and staff and his experience as Essex head coach will stand him in good stead.
Despite the drawn series meaning Australia retained the Ashes, I think Silverwood is taking on the role in a positive light.
At 44 he’s a young, hungry and motivated coach, which is important because someone like Ireland coach Graham Ford, who was also in the picture, has loads of experience yet might not have the same drive to succeed.
Another feather in Silverwood’s cap is his grounding in and knowledge of the County Championship. Bayliss took little interest in the domestic game, which was fine for a settled one-day side, but was a weakness when it came to Tests.
Silverwood is English, played in the County Championship himself and won the Division One title with Essex just two years ago, so he will be able to take a deeper look at players. It can’t hurt to have someone else looking beyond the statistics to try and identify the right kind of players who can step up.
That’s an important attribute to have because selection can be made difficult by the playing conditions, which aren’t helpful in breeding Test players.
In the long run the domestic system needs looking at, but with Silverwood working alongside director of cricket Ashley Giles, I think England are in an encouraging position.
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