Ashley Giles warns mass cull at top is not answer for England’s sorry Ashes
Ashley Giles, managing director of England men’s cricket, has apologised for the manner of the team’s Ashes defeat but warned a mass clearout at the top will not solve deeper rooted issues.
Giles says the England and Wales Cricket Board will conduct a thorough inquest into the failings of the trip after the final two Tests in Sydney and Hobart but, having surrendered the urn at the earliest opportunity over 12 largely depressing days of cricket, he was quick to say sorry to fans.
“Being here now in this position, I absolutely feel the responsibility of losing this Ashes series,” he said, during a round of interviews with travelling journalists and BBC Test Match Special at the SCG.
“Absolutely, we all do, and we can only apologise. I know there will be a lot of emotion, a lot of anger about how we’ve lost it but we know it’s not an easy place to come. We can’t kid ourselves. Look, in 34 years we’ve come here (Australia) and won once.
“We’ll review the tour and there will be a full review, everything will be on the table. We’ll have to send a report through Tom (Harrison, chief executive) to the board and I’m sure a couple of board members will be given the responsibility to lead on that.”
Further scrutiny is guaranteed, internally and externally, after a year of diminishing returns in the red-ball format and a growing consensus that the dominance of limited-overs cricket has gone too far.
One win in the last 12 Tests, and four in 15 all year, tells its own sorry story of incremental decline.
Some would like to see Giles removed from his position, others prefer to take aim at head coach Chris Silverwood or captain Joe Root, while the man above all three in the hierarchy, Harrison, is also under pressure.
Giles is clearly eager to remain in post and believes changes above and beyond revamping a handful of personnel will be required to put England’s Test side back on course.
“In terms of my position, that’s not for me to decide. But you can clearly tell by the way I’m talking that I’m thinking very much about the future and how we take this team forward,” he said.
“If it was a failing of this leadership, then fine, I’d take that, I’m at peace with accountability. But I’m not the first and I won’t be the last unless we make some change.
“That’s what we’re aiming for but unless we look at more systemic change and a collective responsibility and collective solutions, we can make whatever changes we want.
“You can change me, change the head coach, change the captain, but we’re only setting up future leaders for failure. That’s all we’re doing. We’re only pushing it down the road.
“Four out of 15 (in 2021) is not good. In the 90s that was accepted as normal for England leaderships and they got away with it. We set our standards much higher than that.”
For now, though, Giles believes England’s long-stated ambition to become the best side in the world is unrealistic.
In what is an unusually forthright assessment for one of the ECB’s top decision-makers, he suggested the team’s current travails may simply be a fair reflection of their quality.
“At the moment do we think we are a better side than we are? We are sort of at our level. Fourth in the world is probably where we are,” he said.
“We’ve beaten the sides below us but, in these conditions, we’re not beating the sides above us. What’s important is that we don’t try to paper over the cracks. We could easily go to West Indies (in March) and win, then win this summer. We could do ‘everything’s alright, rah, rah, rah’ but I think we still need to be truly focused on finding a way we can compete in Australia and in India.”
Australia tour to Pakistan: Pace attack could be boosted
Australia are likely to include a raft of pace bowlers in their squad for the scheduled tour to Pakistan in March.
South Africa vs India: Keegan Petersen still coming to terms with stardom
New South Africa batting star Keegan Petersen has not quite gotten his head around his newfound fame.
Ashes reaction: Kevin Pietersen backs Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has backed current captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood to remain in charge of the team.
England Test team: ECB investigating after police called to Ashes drinks following Hobart Test
Players and staff from both the Australian and English teams were at the event.
Rassie van der Dussen relished India banter in tough Test series
The series between South Africa and India rode on a knife-edge.
India in South Africa: Jasprit Bumrah philosophical on leadership changes
Coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli have departed recently.
Broad and company: It’s our combined Ashes comedy XI
Everyone loves a combined XI at the end of the series; ours is a little different/better.
England Test team: Coach Chris Silverwood unsure what future holds after Ashes
England lost 4-0 Down Under.
Racism in cricket: ECB to give update to DCMS committee in January
The DCMS committee has recommended public funding to cricket be limited if it does not make sufficient progress on racism.
Women’s Ashes: Lisa Keightley admits England are ‘still rusty’ ahead of bid to regain the Urn
The multi-format series was brought forward by a week and will start with three T20 matches at the Adelaide Oval.