Chris Silverwood intends to bring a “little bit of class” to his reign as England head coach, with a focus on reinvigorating the Test team.
Silverwood emerged from a strong field to be named as Trevor Bayliss’ successor, promoted from his previous job overseeing the fast bowlers, and was unveiled at Lord’s on Thursday.
It was a first chance for the 44-year-old to lay out his plans for the team and while there were no tubthumping predictions about what could be achieved under his stewardship, the former Essex coach was clear about what kind of team he expects to lead.
“You want to be successful, but it’s how you are successful as well… so it’s winning in the right spirit of the game, winning with a little bit of class and respecting your opposition,” he said.
“Respect is a big word. It’s very easy to talk about, but we’re going to make sure that we respect everything around us, everybody around us, and the game, and make sure that we carry that through.”
Ashley Giles, managing director of men’s cricket at the ECB, gave a fulsome tribute to Silverwood – insisting he was the standout candidate rather than the simply the one who gave the snazziest presentation.
Giles praised his track record as a county championship title winning coach, his values and his knowledge of the domestic game, but Silverwood’s strong bond with red-ball captain Joe Root clearly played a major role too.
The Test team was often the poor relation of Eoin Morgan’s World Cup-winning limited-overs side during the Bayliss era and there is an appetite to redress the balance, with a pair of Yorkshiremen already plotting their path.
“Job number one is helping Joe, supporting him, making sure the Test team starts moving forward so when we go to Australia in two years time we can make a real impact out there,” said Silverwood.
“Joe and I have had a good, long conversation. I wanted to make sure that from the get go, we were aligned with how we’re going to go about taking the Test team forward. The two of us have an idea of how we want to take things forward.
“Some cogs will turn faster than others – I saw exactly the same during my time at Essex – and it may be the fact that we have to give people time to find their feet.
“But we’re respectful of that and it’s up to me to create the environment where they can get it wrong a few times as long as they’re learning things that add to their game. You can’t fear failure… they can go in and they can spread the wings and they can fly. That’s the sort of environment we want to bring.”
Silverwood was once a highly-rated pace bowler but went on to play just six Tests and seven one-day internationals due to fluctuating form and fitness. He does not view his new position as a chance to make good on the past but admitted a rush of emotion when he finally got his hands on the job.
“I don’t see it as a second chance. But as a kid I grew up wanting to pull the Lions on and when I embarked on my coaching career I got the same warm feeling that ‘I want to do that again’,” he said.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. When Ash called I was sat in the lounge and my wife Victoria was in the kitchen… she she just heard me go ‘wow!’ and then I think I went quiet for a little bit.
“The emotion was immensely proud, very humbled to be given the opportunity and very grateful that I will get to live the dream again in a coaching capacity.”