England coach Chris Silverwood insists he remains the right man for the job despite just one win in 11 Tests as he admits to ‘honest chats’ in the dressing room after latest Ashes loss
- England are 2-0 down in the Ashes after Australia’s 275-run win at Adelaide
- Coach Chris Silverwood admitted his job is under threat with series unravelling
- But he insisted he remains the right person to lead the England team forward
- ‘Honest chats’ between the players and management were held after the loss
Chris Silverwood has insisted he is the right man to coach England after their latest setback left the Test team with only one victory from their last 11.
As Joe Root’s side headed for Melbourne knowing that defeat in the third Test that starts on Boxing Day will officially end their already slim chances of regaining the Ashes, Silverwood admitted his job was on the line.
But he said some ‘honest chats’ in the dressing-room after England’s 275-run hammering at Adelaide, plus the support of his back-room staff, have convinced him he can help turn round the team’s fortunes.
Chris Silverwood insisted he is the right coach for England despite their Ashes debacle
Silverwood speaks to Joe Root – he admitted there had been ‘honest chats’ after the 275-run defeat in Adelaide that leaves England trailing Australia 2-0 with three to play
On the day it emerged that fast bowler Jofra Archer would be unavailable until the 2022 home summer after a second operation earlier this month to address the stress fracture in his right elbow, England’s head coach was left to issue a cry familiar to so many of his predecessors on tours of Australia: ‘We have to be better.’
The question of his future may yet be taken out of his hands by Ashley Giles, the team’s managing director, though Silverwood can reasonably point to the fact that the last 11 Tests have all been against the three best sides in the world: India, New Zealand and Australia.
But a solitary victory during that sequence – against India at Headingley – is no basis for negotiation.
Australia celebrate the winning moment as they beat England by 275 runs in Adelaide
In that time, only Root and Dawid Malan have averaged over 30 with the bat, while of the regular members of the attack only Ollie Robinson and Jimmy Anderson have averaged below 30 with the ball.
Asked if he was the man to lead England out of their malaise, Silverwood replied: ‘Yes, I do believe I can do that.’
Asked why, he said: ‘I believe I can. We have had those honest chats and I believe I have the right coaching staff around me to make that happen as well.’
Pressed on whether he felt his position was in danger, he said: ‘It always is. When you take a job like this, you accept that. It is what it is. 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?’
Australia can’t believe their luck as Jos Buttler stepped back and hit the stumps
With the notable exception of 2010-11, when captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower oversaw a memorable 3-1 win, Australia tours have not ended well for England coaches.
Duncan Fletcher lost his job after a combination of the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash and a failed World Cup campaign in the Caribbean, while Flower himself stepped down after England lost 5-0 in 2013-14.
It is inconceivable that both Silverwood and Root will still be in their posts if 2021-22 joins the list of disasters.
And that means England’s fortunes must pick up immediately, starting at the MCG. As Silverwood put it with regards to selection: ‘Everything is on the table.’
The process, he hopes, has already begun, following a ‘healthy’ discussion in the England dressing-room, in which Root reiterated the point he made in public about the bowlers’ erroneous lengths in Australia’s first innings.
A dejected Ben Stokes walks off after his dismissal for 12 on the final day in Adelaide
‘He was just truthful,’ said Silverwood. ‘There were a few things thrown out there, and some honest chats, which was great. He is right. Could we have pitched it up further? Potentially, yes. But look at lengths both teams bowled: they were very similar.
‘There are things we can learn from a batting perspective – like the lines and lengths they left us on. They showed us how to play. We have to learn quickly.
‘But it is not just batting and bowling. Look at how many chances we have given up in the field, with dropped catches and missed run-outs.
‘Wickets off no-balls is unacceptable. I brought it up. This cannot happen – it is a basic error. The lads accepted that. We have to be better.’
Silverwood makes a point to captain Joe Root during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide
Silverwood defended the selections for the first two Tests, despite England appearing to get their two teams the wrong way round – with spinner Jack Leach playing on a Brisbane greentop, and fast bowler Mark Wood omitted on a flat surface at Adelaide.
But he added: ‘We knew it was going to be difficult when we came out here. We have seen that on the last couple of occasions out here. Obviously we wanted to win, but that is always going to be difficult. We have to be realistic about what we have, but we have to learn.’
Australia, meanwhile, have added the 32-year-old Victoria seamer Scott Boland to their 15-man squad, prompting speculation that Josh Hazlewood is not expected to recover in time from the side strain that ruled him out of the second Test.
Boland is yet to win a Test cap, and played the last of his 17 white-ball internationals back in October 2016. He recently dismissed England Lions captain Alex Lees for two and one during Australia A’s four-day victory in Brisbane.
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