Chris Silverwood remains confident he’s the right man to coach England
England head coach Chris Silverwood remains convinced he is the right man for the job but accepts that a faltering Ashes campaign brings question marks over his position.
Silverwood took control of the side in late 2019 and has spent much of the last two years planning to reclaim the urn, publicly prioritising the current series on numerous occasions and working hard on plans to reverse England’s poor recent record Down Under.
But things could hardly have got off to a worse start, with Australia winning the first two Tests by handsome margins – nine wickets in Brisbane and 275 runs in Adelaide – and looking a class above in all three disciplines.
Meanwhile, the decision to rest 90mph quick Mark Wood from the second Test was met with almost universal surprise. Long-standing issues with making big totals and dropping catches continue to linger, leaving Silverwood under fire heading into the prestigious Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Asked if he felt like his position was on the line, he said: “It always is. When you take a job like this, you accept that.
“Do I believe I’m the right man? Yes I do, or I wouldn’t have taken the job in the first place. You’re under pressure constantly, aren’t you?”
As for his ability to lift things from their current low ebb and effect the change he wants to see, he added: “Yes, I do believe I can do that.
“I believe I can and I believe I have the right coaching staff around me to make that happen as well.”
Silverwood could hardly be expected to say any different, of course, with public outpourings of self-doubt hardly the stuff of elite sport, but the mere fact that those questions are already emerging is instructive.
Only one part of the team could realistically claim to be fully functional, the axis of Dawid Malan and Joe Root at numbers three and four, but even then both men have berated themselves for not converting half-centuries into big hundreds.
Root was a visibly frustrated frontman as he took care of the Adelaide debrief on Monday, going out of his way to bemoan the lengths his bowlers pursued. Too often the ball was served up a shade too short, keeping a lid on the run-rate but keeping dangerous drives to a minimum and not attacking the stumps.
Given that the attack was led by the two most prolific and experienced bowlers in English history, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, that criticism could be a source of some tension. But Silverwood revealed Root took his complaints from the press conference to the dressing room, dishing out some home truths as he led some frank exchanges within the group.
“What you saw was what we got in the dressing room after. We had a really good talk, which was needed,” the head coach said.
“The chat we had in the dressing room was very honest. If we want to win this Test series and compete in this Test series, we have to be better.
“There were a few things thrown out there. There were some honest chats, which was great. It was good and it was healthy. We had a really good talk, which was needed.
“I think there are some lessons to be learned – he is right. We have to learn quickly.”
Silverwood took the opportunity to air one of his own bugbears as the debrief continued, referring to a recurring no-ball problem that has already cost Ben Stokes and Robinson wickets due to careless over-stepping.
“Wickets off no-balls are unacceptable,,” he said. “I brought it up and we faced into that.
“This cannot happen. It’s a basic error. The lads accepted that.”
England have decided not to raid the Big Bash League for reinforcements, though the likes of Saqib Mahmood and James Vince are on hand and in the country if required.
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