Chris Silverwood will appoint Paul Collingwood as England cricket looks to keep it in the family

Nick Hoult
The Telegraph
Chris Silverwood keeps the faith with Paul Collingwood, who is pictured here with Jason Roy and Trevor Bayliss - Action Images via Reuters
Chris Silverwood keeps the faith with Paul Collingwood, who is pictured here with Jason Roy and Trevor Bayliss - Action Images via Reuters

One of Chris Silverwood’s first steps as England head coach will be to appoint Paul Collingwood as a full-time member of a backroom team with a strong English identity.

Collingwood has worked with England on a contractual basis for the past 12 months but had to apply for a full-time role advertised in August. He will land that job now and join Graham Thorpe as one of Silverwood’s assistants, with both expected to be given more responsibility in a coaching team who have a very familiar look to the one led by Trevor Bayliss.

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Silverwood will also look to appoint a full-time bowling coach, a position left vacant after his own promotion, but this is unlikely to happen until after the New Zealand tour next month, with an interim to be used for that trip, possibly from within the county game.

Silverwood was yesterday named as the replacement for Bayliss, becoming only the second Englishman to coach the Test team in almost 20 years, a period that included two stints by Peter Moores.

He was chosen ahead of the far more experienced Gary Kirsten, who boasted a glittering CV after working with the best players in the world and guiding India and South Africa to the top of the Test rankings. He also led South Africa to a Test series win in Australia, the ultimate target for Silverwood, and won the 2011 World Cup with India.

But Kirsten’s disappointing interview with Ashley Giles, the director of cricket, last week led England to doubt his credentials for the job having been excited that he had shown an interest in the job. They worried he had fallen out of touch with the modern international game after six years in franchise cricket, and were put off by demands over spending time with his family and reluctance to engage with the media.

Silverwood’s enthusiasm for the role and his knowledge of the county game nosed him ahead after the round of interviews. Bayliss had little knowledge of county cricket and Kirsten would also have had to play catch-up but Silverwood already has strong connections with county directors of cricket and should be able to close the gap between the national side and the domestic game.

He has worked quietly in the background since he started as England bowling coach after the Ashes in Australia in January 2018. He left his role as head coach at Essex months after winning the County Championship in order to put himself in a position to replace Bayliss and that ambition has paid off. During that time, he has built a good relationship with the Test captain, fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root.

What is not known is whether he has the force of personality to bring about change within a Test team who have struggled for consistency, developed a habit of being bowled out very cheaply, appear confused about how to approach Test cricket and still rely heavily on James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

<span>Joe Root averaged 33 in the recent Ashes and his form will be a top concern for the new coach</span> <span>Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers </span>
Joe Root averaged 33 in the recent Ashes and his form will be a top concern for the new coach Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Whereas Kirsten has years of experience of working with the best all over the world, Silverwood has spent his career in the English game, apart form a short stint coaching in Zimbabwe, and lacks a track record of success in Asia or Australia.

Bayliss’s laid-back style worked with a strong captain such as Morgan but Root was often left isolated and in need of more support when the Test side struggled, particularly overseas. Silverwood has been in the system long enough to recognise the weaknesses that need addressing and those close to him say he has the ruthless edge to make tough decisions. He is also respected for his strong work ethic and methodical approach to the job.

He will give a press conference on Thursday when he will share some of the ideas that persuaded Giles to give him the job and describe him as the “standout candidate”.

Silverwood has not signed a set contract and instead is a staff employee of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

<span>Aim for the stars: Chris Silverwood speaks with Craig Overton and Chris Woakes during Oval nets last month </span> <span>Credit: Getty Images Europe </span>
Aim for the stars: Chris Silverwood speaks with Craig Overton and Chris Woakes during Oval nets last month Credit: Getty Images Europe

“I aim to continue the great work that has been done over the past five years and build on our future, especially in the Test arena,” he said. “I have enjoyed working with the players over the past two seasons, and developing the best crop of talent in the English game.

“I am excited to get started and build teams that the whole game can be proud of. There is a tremendous amount of talent coming through, and there is enormous potential for growth.”

Appointing Silverwood is Giles’s first big decision since replacing Andrew Strauss as director of cricket and while he always wanted to appoint an Englishman, he knows he has taken a gamble on an inexperienced coach at international level at a point when the Test team have just become the first England side not to win a home Ashes series in almost 20 years.

“Chris demonstrated in his interview a clear understanding and strategy of how both the red and white-ball teams need to evolve. He has some detailed thoughts on what it will take to win the Ashes in Australia and win major white-ball tournaments,” said Giles.

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