England Test team: Coach Chris Silverwood unsure what future holds after Ashes
England head coach Chris Silverwood does not know for certain if he will survive this winter’s Ashes thrashing but is keen to ensure there is no repeat performance in four years’ time.
Silverwood is under no illusion about how precarious his position is after the tourists crashed to a 4-0 series defeat with an embarrassing collapse in Hobart.
The appetite for change is mounting around England’s Test side after a dismally uncompetitive tour but the targets are so diverse it is not yet clear where the mud will stick.
Silverwood’s position is among those under intense scrutiny, but Joe Root’s captaincy, Ashley Giles’ role as managing director of men’s cricket and Tom Harrison’s status as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board are also uncertain.
Yet the conveyor belt of fixtures rolls on even as key decisions are being made behind the scenes.
Assistant coach Paul Collingwood left the Ashes campaign after two games in order to lead a Twenty20 series in the West Indies starting on January 23 and the Test team will be jetting out to the Caribbean in the final week of February for three matches.
As it stands, Silverwood will be picking the squad for that trip in the next few weeks but he is realistic enough to accept that, with Giles currently writing a tour review, nothing cannot be taken for granted.
Asked if he had received assurances over his role, he said: “Nothing yet, no. I accept the job I’m in comes with the level of criticism it does and the uncertainty as well.
“Until I’m told differently, I’ll start planning for the West Indies. I want to carry on but there are decisions above that will be made as well.
“My job is going to be under scrutiny, there will be a review when we get home and part and parcel of that will be my job.
“I would love to help effect changes, and I would like to put some of this right. I think I can do that.
“I think I’m a good coach and I would love to be given that opportunity but it’s out of my hands at the moment. We want to sit down, debrief, let the dust settle and the emotions settle.
“Everything is quite emotional at the moment. Let’s look at it in the cold light of day.”
Silverwood aligned himself to the growing consensus around a reset in England’s attitude to first-class and Test cricket – a theme that has attracted the agreement of Root, Harrison and Giles in the days since the Ashes were surrendered in Melbourne.
But words must be met by actions if anything tangible is to come from the gut punch of the 2021/22 Ashes and Silverwood is keen for England’s head coach to be dealt a better hand on the next trip.
Unless that is assigned, he fears the worst.
“Yes, I’m the head coach of England but I’m also an England fan, I’m passionate. I’d like to see changes come in that would help us do the job better – that’s what I want,” he said.
“I’m not a big one for apportioning blame on people but I do think it needs addressing for the next time we come here.
“We have got to sit down and get people to make these decisions round a table and make it work.
“We have to see action. If talk is all we do then in four years’ time you will just be asking another person these same questions.
“If changes don’t happen and we are not preparing the blokes to compete at this level we are not going to move forward and we will stay as we are.
“The changes have to happen if we are serious about being number one in the world and serious about competing in Australia.”
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