The former managing director of England men’s cricket, Andrew Strauss, has expressed his dismay at the lack of English coaches in high-level cricket.
Strauss’ comments follow the announcement of the first six coaches in the new The Hundred competition, none of whom are English. Echoing his successor Ashley Giles’ frustration earlier this year, Strauss also spoke of the impact this is having on England men’s search for a home-grown candidate.
"Personally I think that that was a great opportunity for English coaches to be appointed," Strauss reflected, speaking during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, the second day of which will be dedicated to the Ruth Strauss Foundation.
Four men’s and two women’s coaches have been revealed for The Hundred; five are Australian and there is one South African, Gary Kirsten.
"Each of those teams will have their own reasons for appointing experienced coaches, who have coached in T20 cricket elsewhere in the world," Strauss added.
"You can completely understand that, but there is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation in that unless English coaches get an opportunity, how do they get the experience? We’ve always got to look for an opportunity for our English coaches to get more experience than just doing county coaching gigs. They need to do more than that if they are going to be viable candidates for England jobs going forward."
"I think that there are a few [candidates]," continued Strauss on who might replace Trevor Bayliss, who has confirmed that he will be vacating the England men’s role at the end of the summer.
"I would not want to name names at this moment. I always think that it is a nice thing if you’ve got some English candidate there to choose from. I’m not saying that you would definitely pick them but I would say that over the years, we have not had enough [English] candidates and that is a problem for the game, actually."
Ashley Giles, who took over Strauss’ position in December last year, had already expressed similar sentiments. On discussing a replacement to Australian Bayliss, who has been England men’s coach across all formats for four years, Giles said that it was "a pretty sorry state of affairs" that England’s men had had just one Englishman coach the team full-time in 20 years.
There are a handful of English coaches who have been mentioned by both Giles and Strauss as potential candidates, but they remain a select few.
"I suppose the other thing is that some of the really good, young English coaches are currently involved in the England team," observed Strauss, trying to explain the coaching picks for The Hundred. "Paul Collingwood being a great example, Chris Silverwood, Marcus Trescothick is doing some work as well. So those are guys who may have had some appeal to The Hundred teams but actually are involved with the England teams at the moment."
Silverwood is the frontrunner amongst English candidates, having joined Bayliss’ team as fast-bowling coach in January 2018, six months after leading Essex to the County Championship title. However, the international contingent provides strong competition, with former Australia all-rounder Andrew McDonald currently in pole position. It is understood that McDonald, already named as the coach of the Birmingham franchise in The Hundred, held private meetings with Giles last week.
Earlier in the year, Giles had also expressed his intention to appoint one coach across all three formats, as was the case with Bayliss. This remains a difficult prospect, with many factors to consider such as workload, travel and a wealth of other opportunities available to highly sought-after coaches, as well as the increasing divergence between the three, and shortly four, formats of cricket.
While Bayliss will finish his England career with a World Cup win - "an extraordinary feather in his cap" - he will be "slightly frustrated that the Test team has not progressed as much as he would have liked", said Strauss.
"I personally don’t think that it is sustainable for the same coaching team to do everything," continued Strauss. "So whether it’s a coach or assistant coaches, you need people to come and go. It’s just too much. You can’t prepare and play at the same time.
"If you are playing one series, you need someone who is preparing for the next series that is coming along in a couple of weeks. It’s very hard to do that with the same coaching team.
"I don’t think it diverges (from Giles’ thinking). He thinks that there is value in having one head coach who looks after the whole thing, who you identify periods of rest for. And then you have support staff there who will dip in and out. Which is fine, I think that makes sense.”
Day Two of the second Specsavers Ashes Test Match between England and Australia will see Lord’s turn red in aid of the Ruth Strauss Foundation. Eoin Morgan has donated his match-worn ICC Men’s World Cup Final winning shirt signed by the entire winning team. Visit ruthstraussfoundation.com to bid.