The England and Wales Cricket Board’s new director of cricket Ashley Giles vowed to return to the top when he was sacked as England’s one-day coach four years ago.
Giles has replaced Andrew Strauss in the head role at the ECB, returning to the governing body after being fired in 2014.
The 45-year-old, who played 54 Tests for England, was bitterly disappointed at losing his job, where he worked separately to Test coach Andy Flower, but says that helped shape his career path.
“I said it at the time, that was a goal of mine, not through bitterness,” he said. “I don’t know if I said it to (former ECB director of cricket) Paul, I certainly said it to my wife.
“The bitterness that doesn’t drive me. That isn’t important to me. I want to do the job well, I want England to do well, I have always wanted to test myself at the highest level.
“If you look at my career progress over the last four or five years, I have sort of prepared for this role. If you are a cricket director or performance director this is the pinnacle in my area.
“That period with Andy and the unravelling of the Ashes and the debacle against the Netherlands in Bangladesh, I guess that was almost a catalyst for me going back to university, studying, taking a master’s and changing paths slightly.
“It was a good life lesson if anything, but it got me where I am today.”
One of Giles’ main priorities will be to find a replacement for current head coach Trevor Bayliss, who will leave his role at the end of the English summer.
Given his previous position at the ECB, Giles is well-placed to consider the possibility of dual coaches for the Test and limited-overs sides, or a head coach, who specialist coaches would work under.
England have not appointed separate coaches for different formats since Giles’ dismissal, but he is not ruling out going back to that.
“We’ll look at everything, I have not made call on that,” he added. “I think it can work. Last time, there was the cycle, the unravelling was very difficult but with the workload coming up – World Test Championship, T20 World Cups, it will be challenging.
“I guess when we first split it, Andy and me, we thought the paths of players might go similarly. But players have gone together more, we have players who are adaptable.”
With a hugely important summer coming up, there is a home World Cup and an Ashes campaign, Giles has said he will not do anything to derail England’s chances of success.
That might mean their much-maligned pre-match game of football might survive for now, but it appears its days could be numbered.
Jonny Bairstow injured his ankle having a kickabout before a game in Sri Lanka and Giles is not a fan.
“Everyone knows my thoughts on football and I will discuss that with the captains and coaches,” he said.
“But when you talk about short-term derailers I don’t want to be blamed for losing the World Cup because we are not playing football.
“If you look at what football does, the benefits from a psychological and fun point of view are outstripped by the dangers, but we will discuss that.
“I am not coming in with an iron rod right now.”
Giles has also vowed to bring an end to a spate of incidents over the last 18 months that has seen the England side hit the headlines for late-night drinking.
“I discussed curfews years ago, I don’t think we should look at those as being a negative thing,” he said.
“We have got a responsibility to protect our players, we have got a duty of care to them. And the discipline side of things is really important to me.
“I can have a reputation as being quite firm, but I think I am fair. I like to build teams, I like to build fun and enjoyment in what you do, but there is also a big responsibility in what we do and how we look outwardly – to be good, to be respected as much off the field as much as we do on the field.