England coach Trevor Bayliss has taken a flame to the unusually conciliatory tone of this summer’s Ashes build-up and urged his new charges to carry the fight to Australia.
So refreshing was the goodwill fostered by last month’s Test and limited-overs clashes with New Zealand that talk of a more friendly Ashes series gathered momentum.
But on his media debut as England’s first ever Australian coach, Bayliss tore up that script and told his players they will have to be aggressive to regain the urn from his countrymen.
“To be successful against Australia it’s certainly not going to be by taking a backward step or allowing them to dictate terms,” said the 52-year-old, who named his first squad yesterday.
“You’ve got to fight fire with fire, be positive and aggressive and individuals have to play their own natural game. They’ve been selected to play their way and that’s what’s going to be successful for them.”
England’s 13-man party for the first Ashes Test, which starts on Wednesday in Cardiff, includes the eleven who finished the New Zealand series plus spinner Adil Rashid and seamer Steven Finn.
Squad: First Test
A Cook (c); M Ali; J Anderson; G Ballance; I Bell; S Broad; J Buttler; S Finn; A Lyth; A Rashid; J Root; B Stokes; M Wood