England ditch coach Silverwood after Ashes failure

Chris Silverwood's departure came a day after Ashley Giles, who appointed him in 2019, was sacked from his role of England managing director men's cricket.

FILE: England's head coach Chris Silverwood (R) walks across the ground during a team training session ahead of the second cricket Test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, on 27 November 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - England coach Chris Silverwood paid the price for the team's woeful Ashes series loss in Australia by leaving his post on Thursday, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced.

Silverwood's departure came a day after Ashley Giles, who appointed him in 2019, was sacked from his role of England managing director men's cricket.

England's 4-0 reverse in Australia means they have now won just one of their last 14 Tests, albeit Silverwood's tenure coincided with the coronavirus pandemic.

Former England captain Andrew Strauss has taken over from Giles on a temporary basis and will oversee the appointment of an interim coach for the tour of the West Indies in March "in the coming days", according to ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.

Harrison added Silverwood had given "absolutely everything" to make a success of the job", pointing to Test series wins in South Africa and Sri Lanka, and that he was a man of "great integrity" whom the players had enjoyed working with.

'CHALLENGING PERIOD'

"He has led the England men's team with great resilience and empathy through an incredibly challenging period for English cricket, and he deserves our sincere thanks and gratitude."

Former England left-arm spinner Giles received fresh criticism during the Ashes for giving Silverwood sole authority to pick the side after being behind the sacking of national selector Ed Smith.

Silverwood, having been involved in a controversial rest and rotation policy during series losses away to India and at home to New Zealand in 2021, found himself under fire again following several bizarre selection decisions in Australia.

For all the strain of a gruelling schedule and 'bubble' cricket, it was hard to explain, for example, why England dropped James Anderson and Stuart Broad, their two most successful Test bowlers of all time, from the series opener in Brisbane.

England were quickly 3-0 down in a five-match series, making a mockery of Silverwood's remark that the "Ashes are a marathon not a sprint" given the side's need to make a good start.

They only avoided a whitewash with a draw in the fourth Test when Silverwood was in Covid-enforced isolation.

The 46-year-old former Test paceman joined the backroom staff in 2018 as a bowling coach before succeeding Trevor Bayliss as head coach after a drawn home Ashes series the following year.

Silverwood was tasked with improving England's Test record after their white-ball form had improved so spectacularly under Australian coach Bayliss that Eoin Morgan's men won the 50-over World Cup three years ago.

But not even the form of England star batsman Joe Root, who appears set to remain as Test captain, could prevent a succession of damaging collapses.

"It's been an absolute honour to be England head coach and I'm extremely proud to have worked alongside our players and staff," said Silverwood in the ECB statement.

"The last two years have been very demanding but I have really enjoyed my time with the team. I am very proud of this group considering the challenges."