Silverwood to focus on reinvigorating England’s test team
Test cricket has taken a back seat in English cricket in recent years, with the country intent on improving its fortunes in the white-ball formats.
Chris Silverwood is keen to redress that balance.
England’s newly hired cricket coach outlined his vision Thursday for the first time since getting the job, and it was clear his initial focus would be on the test team captained by Joe Root.
“Job No. 1 is helping Joe, supporting him, making sure the test team starts moving forward,” Silverwood said at Lord’s, “so when we go to Australia in two years’ time we can make a real impact out there.
“Joe and I have had a good, long conversation. I wanted to make sure that from the get-go, we were aligned with how we’re going to go about taking the test team forward. The two of us have an idea of how we want to take things forward.”
England won the 50-over Cricket World Cup for the first time this year, at the start of a summer where the test team only drew the Ashes series 2-2 with Australia to ensure the urn stayed Down Under.
While England has risen to the top of the ODI rankings under Silverwood’s predecessor, Trevor Bayliss, the test team has slipped to No. 4 in the world.
Bayliss did give England’s players more freedom and responsibility than in previous regimes, and Silverwood suggested he would have the same approach.
“It’s up to me to create the environment where they can get it wrong a few times as long as they’re learning things that add to their game. You can’t fear failure,” Silverwood said. “They can go in and they can spread the wings and they can fly. That’s the sort of environment we want to bring.”
The 44-year-old Silverwood said he wanted to win in the right way.
“You want to be successful, but it’s how you are successful as well,” he added, “so it’s winning in the right spirit of the game, winning with a little bit of class and respecting your opposition.
“Respect is a big word. It’s very easy to talk about, but we’re going to make sure that we respect everything around us, everybody around us, and the game, and make sure that we carry that through.”
Silverwood was once a highly rated pace bowler but went on to play just six tests and seven ODIs because of fluctuating form and fitness. He does not view his new position as a chance to make good on the past but admitted to a rush of emotion when he finally got his hands on the job.
“I don’t see it as a second chance,” he said. “But as a kid, I grew up wanting to pull the Lions on and when I embarked on my coaching career, I got the same warm feeling that, ‘I want to do that again.’
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. When Ash (England managing director Ashley Giles) called, I was sat in the lounge and my wife Victoria was in the kitchen… she just heard me go, ‘Wow!’ and then I think I went quiet for a little bit. The emotion was immensely proud, very humbled to be given the opportunity.”
His first matches in charge of England will be in the tour of New Zealand starting Nov. 1.
Credit : Associated Press (AP) | Photo Credit : (AP)