England have confirmed they will appoint separate head coaches to lead the men’s Test and limited-overs squads, with the interview process set to begin in just two weeks.
A return to the split coaching model has long been anticipated, with England’s exhausting schedule and the rapidly diverging fortunes of the red and white-ball teams making the change a virtual necessity.
The appointment of Rob Key, a proponent of the two-coach plan, as managing director essentially rubberstamped the shift and formal job specifications have been published by the England and Wales Cricket Board outlining the new roles.
Time is tight with England beginning their summer schedule on 2 June, with the first Test of the summer against New Zealand, but they still hope to have a full-time coach in position by then. If not, a continuation of Paul Collingwood’s interim reign would not be unthinkable.
The application process concludes May 6 and first-round interviews will follow on May 9 and 10, just a fortnight away.
Collingwood is the leading internal candidate, and could be in with a good chance of landing the white-ball position, but the ECB will be crossing its fingers that recruitment partners SRI present a strong field of international names.
Australians Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Simon Katich have all been touted as options, should they wish to cross the Ashes divide, while New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming, Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and South Africans Gary Kirsten and Graham Ford have all been linked.
The field was thinner than expected when Chris Silverwood was appointed ahead of Kirsten and Mickey Arthur in 2019, but the reduced workloads of a shared position mean those who were previously put off by the time demands could be attracted this time.
Key’s predecessor, Ashley Giles, had been resistant to splitting the role having previously shared power with Andy Flower during his own coaching career. Giles led the limited-overs team between 2012 and 2014, with the more powerful Flower retaining the reins of the Test side.
Both Trevor Bayliss and Silverwood have since done the job single-handedly, but England’s fixture demands over the next 12 months – and beyond – render a continuation of that policy almost unworkable.