Tag Archives: Ashley Giles

Is Ashley Giles Good Enough to Coach England?

16 Apr
Ashley Giles’ hopes to be the next England coach took a hammering in Bangladesh: losses to New Zealand, South Africa and then the whimpering failure to the Netherlands have all conspired against him. So with the ECB today interviewing candidates for the role vacated by Andy Flower, I ask – is Giles good enough to coach England?

Firstly it is necessary to concede that he has not been dealt a generous hand during his time as England’s limited overs head coach. Consistently he has led tours with a veritable 2nd XI as ECB ordered rest periods or, in one instance, a retirement has whittled down the list of players he has had at his disposal. Regularly without James Anderson, Graeme Swann and recently Kevin Pietersen, England’s best ODI player, Giles has had to turn to Boyd Rankin, Stephen Parry and Moeen Ali rather too early than would have been ideal both for Giles and the players.
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Flower’s time to go?

30 Dec
Ashley Giles is really sneaky

Ashley Giles is really sneaky

In a previous article, I stated the need for calm following the Perth implosion. And although England need not clear the shelves totally, simply put, there needs to be a culture change within the team.

Watching them at the MCG as Chris Rogers and Shane Watson flogged them it was obvious that England were resigned to their fate. This has been a recurring theme for this English side – they are not strong mentally as those above them. England rarely get beaten, instead they get thrashed.

Andy Flower, as team coach, has brought huge success to England. Under his reign they became the best Test team in the world, won the 2010 ICC World T20 and won three Ashes series. In the last two years and before this current series, they had played 25 Tests, won 10 and lost 7. That was second only to South Africa. Indisputably, Flower’s reign has coincided with great success. But there have also been tremendous lows.

They were hammered by Pakistan in 2011/12 – although this was in Dubai, which is the cricketing graveyard few return from in one piece. Losing the 2012 series against the South Africans meant they lost their No. 1 ranking, which hurt them, and the fact that they went to New Zealand in early 2013 and drew all three Test matches was hugely disappointing.

When England have lost in this period, they have been thrashed. They have lacked the mental resolve of the better teams, such as South Africa, to fight back from losing situations. Only in India in 2012 have this incarnation of the English cricket team scraped back to win a Test series after going 1-0 down. In other situations they have been caned – 2-0 against South Africa (which was far more scarring than the scoreline, and the team itself, lets on), 4-0 versus Pakistan.  When looking at South Africa’s mental resolve, one just has to look at their recent game against India. Set 458 to win, they batted and batted and batted – finishing on 450/7.

Another pressing problem is that there are no brilliant alternatives to Flower. Whilst Ashley Giles is the obvious option as he coaches the ODI and T20 team, he hasn’t set the world alight and his allegiance to Warwickshire players is worrying at best, short sighted and biased at worst. If Giles were currently in charge, Chris Woakes, a Warwickshire player, would have played instead of Ben Stokes. And although ‘there is no one else’ isn’t a viable argument to keep Flowers on, the ECB will be mindful that until a better replacement is found there is no benefit to getting rid of him.

With a change at the very top of the ECB just before this series, it is unlikely that the new MD’s first decision will be to sack the coach. But he needs to have a firm talk with Flower – does he want the job any more; does he still command the same respect in the dressing room; will England bounce back. If he answers yes to these questions then the changes will have to come elsewhere – senior players, ageing players and eventually, the captaincy.