Chris Silverwood to provide England captain Joe Root with more 'support' and 'structure' to help get runs flowing again
Chris Silverwood’s most pressing challenge as England head coach is to help Joe Root rediscover his form with his lack of runs a major reason why Australia were able to retain the Ashes last summer.
Root will bat at four in New Zealand, reverting to his favourite position in the order. Silverwood has already pledged support to Dom Sibley, vowing to give him time to settle in as an opener alongside Rory Burns. It means Joe Denly is likely to move to three, giving Root more protection and time to gather his thoughts before going out to bat.
Root has moved up and down from no 3 over the past two years without finding a settled role in the side. Trevor Bayliss believed in having his best batsman at three where he could exert most influence over the game but it has just not suited Root.
Silverwood has said his team will apply old fashioned basics in Test cricket and that means creating an established top five made up of specialist batsmen built around Root.
“We don’t want a coach who will come in and smother white-ball cricket and Eoin. But we want someone who is going to give Joe more support, put more structure in place around him and really together form that DNA of what a Test team looks like, which I don’t think we’ve quite got to yet,” said Ashley Giles, the England director.Credit: GETTY IMAGES
“But that structure and support needs to go and allow Joe to average 50 with the bat, score hundreds and win Test matches. When it comes down to nuts and bolts that’s the most important thing because it takes the pressure off everyone.”
Last summer was Root’s first home season without a Test hundred and he is averaging 45 this calendar year, his lowest since 2013 when he was establishing himself in the side and was dropped for the only time in his career.
Root looked exhausted during the Ashes and struggled with the burden of captaincy under Trevor Bayliss, whose hands off approach to management put more pressure on the captain. “Yes and that was Trev’s style,” said Giles. “It worked so well in so many other areas with different people. That was why the white-ball team flew. I’m sure up front when he came in with that method people thought ‘what the bloody hell’s going on here?’ Morgs ran into that space and took charge. But Eoin and Joe are very different people as well and that’s where being able to flex your style across different environments is important and I do think this bloke can do that.”
Giles confirmed Silverwood will have a bigger role in selection compared to his predecessor, mainly because his knowledge of the county game is better and he has existing relationships with the county directors of cricket.