Chris Silverwood has refused to entertain debate about his position as England’s multi-format head coach, insisting that his only focus after his team’s humiliating beating in the third Test in Melbourne is on avoiding a laundering of Ashes.
“Concern for myself is at the bottom of the list, to be honest,” Silverwood said. “What we need to do is look forward to the next two tests, stay positive if we can, and make sure we’re there, we’re competing, and we’re taking something from this tour. I feel like I’m able to lead this team to win things and that’s what I want to stay focused on and that’s all I can do. ”
England’s former head coach, Trevor Bayliss, stepped back in 2019 with this series in mind, describing away ashes as “our holy grail”, where “you’re better off making changes well in advance and giving the guys time to sleep in.” . Following Silverwood’s appointment in October, English cricket director Ashley Giles said he was particularly impressed in his interview with “some detailed thoughts on what it will take to win Ashes in Australia”. England have lost the first three Tests by nine wickets, 275 runs and one innings and 14 runs respectively.
“There are some positive things,” Silverwood said after beating England 68, their lowest total in Australia since 1904, to confirm the hosts’ victory in the series. “We had the problem [of positive Covid tests in the camp on Monday] but they went out and competed. The bowlers showed a lot of enthusiasm, courage and determination. I thought the attitude and effort the guys showed yesterday was excellent, so there is a lot of struggle and enthusiasm in that locker room. Try to take advantage of it.
“I think the only focus at the moment is how do I get the best out of these players to make sure we compete for the next two tests? I will not return after losing 5-0. I would like to win matches here. “
Silverwood acknowledged that there are structural problems, potentially including an unhealthy focus on white-ball cricket, that has held England back. “There are definitely things we need to look at and we will look at the end of this trip,” he said. “But I just do not think those talks are for right now. I think we have to deal with what lies ahead because we have two test matches on the way. Then I think the debrief will happen.”
Australia’s superiority has been so emphatic that Joe Root’s position as England captain has also been hurt in doubt, despite finishing 2021 with 1,708 test runs, enough for third place on the all-time list. “I think he’s a fine young man and an amazing man,” Silverwood said.
“The year he has had with the bat shows that he is a class act. But again, I do not think it’s time to discuss that kind of thing. What we really need to concentrate on is doing what we came here to do, namely to compete. We have two test matches left, so we have to put our best foot forward, and that must be the focus. ”