England have made a calculated gamble to go for inside man Chris Silverwood over Gary Kirsten
By opting for Chris Silverwood as England’s new head coach ahead of Gary Kirsten, the ECB have taken a calculated gamble.
While Kirsten has a proven track record, especially at Test level, Silverwood’s greatest achievement so far has been to lead Essex to the County Championship title in 2017.
That is not to say he won’t be a success. Those who know him well speak highly of his knowledge, work ethic, enthusiasm and man-management skills.
Chris Silverwood, 44, has succeeded Trevor Bayliss as head coach of the England cricket team
But it’s also clear that being on the inside has helped his cause. As an ECB statement put it: ‘He is somebody we know well.’ The statement praised his ‘intimate understanding of our structures and systems’, and referenced his ‘close relationships’ with Joe Root and Eoin Morgan, Test and white-ball captains respectively.
Kirsten, the outsider, was never going to be able to compete on that score. It seems he also paid the price for a more old-school approach. Arriving in England a week ago for his interview, he was under the impression that the job was his. Instead of an all-singing powerpoint presentation of the kind that goes down so well in the corporate world, he depicted himself as someone who would get the job done once appointed.
His expertise as a Test-match opener would have been a good fit for England’s new-look top order, especially at a time when managing director Ashley Giles has promised to refocus on red-ball cricket after this summer’s World Cup triumph.
But it is Silverwood who has ticked all the boxes, and who the ECB must now hope can take England back to the top of the Test rankings.
Silverwood emerged from the recent interview process ahead of South African Gary Kirsten