Chris Silverwood Q&A: England's new head coach on Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root
"Part of my role is to make sure there is an environment that the players feel safe enough in to express themselves, spread their wings and fly"
Last Updated: 12/10/19 10:51am
He is the former bowling coach who must now resolve England's Test batting issues after his promotion to head coach.
We sent our reporter Jamie Weir to ask Chris Silverwood about his blueprint for future England success and a few other things besides…
How did you react when you found out you'd got the job as head coach?
Silverwood: "The word was 'wow'. My wife looked at me and I went, 'yep, I've got the job'. I'm obviously very proud, honoured, humbled, but ultimately very excited about moving forward."
Is your coaching style more akin to that of Trevor Bayliss or Andy Flower?
Silverwood: "I'm probably somewhere in between, if I'm honest. There will still be a lot of emphasis on the players taking responsibility for developing their own game, but equally I like a bit of structure around that to make sure they get the support they need. I need that as well to make sure I'm doing my job properly."
Is it right that the coaching role isn't split?
Silverwood: "I would have stuck with one. I made it very clear that's what I thought, as well - the reason being that having one guy where the buck stops can take an objective view of the two teams and who may or may not need to be rested to get the best out of them."
Won't that take a huge toll on your family life?
Silverwood: "I'm very lucky that I've got a great wife, Victoria, behind me and some very supportive kids as well, who understand what I've got into and what they're involved in too. They're as excited about it as I am."
Does there need to be a real focus on the red-ball game over the next two years?
Silverwood: "I think there does. Obviously there has been a great focus on white-ball cricket and that has been very successful and it's been great to be a part of that. But, yes, we need to shift the focus a little bit more over to red-ball cricket and give Joe (Root) the support he needs. But equally we can't take our eye off the white ball - there are two huge tournaments coming up that we want to win as well."
Has red-ball cricket not had the TLC it deserves in recent years?
Silverwood: "Potentially that is the reason. So, from that point of view, we'll be looking to get a formula in there that can help us bat for long periods of time, and get the right people in the right place and obviously continue to build a bowling attack that is successful in all conditions all around the world and get the consistency back."
Can you leave the white-ball teams to look after themselves to some extent?
Silverwood: "Eoin Morgan has been phenomenal. If you look back at when we first started planning for the World Cup, he was very clear on what he wanted and he's equally clear about what he wants now moving forward. It's my job to give him that support and help him get that. It gives me that little bit of space to put a bit more time into the red-ball side of things knowing that Eoin has got a really good grip on the white ball."
What text messages did you get from Eoin and Joe?
Silverwood: "Eoin was fantastic - he was over the moon for me and equally so was Joe, which was really nice and really humbling that the two respective captains are as excited to work with me as I am to work with them."
Will we see Alex Hales play for England again now that he is available?
Silverwood: "I'm a big one for never saying never. I think that Alex has probably still got a little bit of room to make up but time is a great healer and never write anybody off."
Will we see Jonny Bairstow play Test cricket for England again?
Silverwood: "I think we will, to be honest. He has got bucketloads of talent and he will go away and work harder and we know that when he has got the bit between his teeth he's very dangerous, so hopefully we'll see that come out and he'll force his way back in."
On your first day in the job you saw pictures of Ben Stokes in the media. These are the things you're going to have to deal with now…
Silverwood: "They are, but as far as Ben Stokes goes I'm so looking forward to working with him; he is an inspirational character. We've seen what he's done this summer. My relationship with him is very good so I'm looking forward to working with him and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next on the field, to be honest, because he's done some inspirational things this summer."
Given your background as a bowling coach, how will you address England's batting issues?
Silverwood: "I've got good coaches around me already who will go out and find those players and help nurture those ideas that will fit into the team plan that we're going to put in place. We've just got to make sure that the right players are in the right place and give them an opportunity to succeed. So part of my role is to make sure there is an environment that they feel safe enough in to express themselves, spread their wings and fly. It's ok to get it wrong so long as they learn from it."
Is it important to stay in touch with the county game?
Silverwood: "It is. If we're talking about moving both teams forward, we want the same messages coming all the way from us through the Lions, through the U19s, into the county circuit. We need to make sure that our relationships with the counties are good because ultimately they are the breeding ground of our next generations of cricketers. The skills that we want need to be put in place at county level."
Marcus Trescothick and Jonathan Trott were both involved with the backroom staff over the summer. Can you give us an idea of who might be involved in the future?
Silverwood: "They did a great job when they were with us but you'll have to watch this space on that. I want to make sure that we put the right people in the right places to give the players the best support that they deserve."