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Sport 'England job is a great challenge'

05:50  20 november  2019
05:50  20 november  2019 Source:   skysports.com

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England head coach Chris Silverwood has described his task of turning around the team's Test fortunes as " a great challenge " ahead of the first Test against New Zealand on Wednesday. Chris Silverwood talks to Sky Sports' Ian Ward about the challenge that awaits England in New Zealand.

Chris Silverwood wearing a hat: Chris SIlverwood has promised to 'crack the whip' with the England team if neccesary © Getty Chris SIlverwood has promised to 'crack the whip' with the England team if neccesary England head coach Chris Silverwood has described his task of turning around the team's Test fortunes as "a great challenge" ahead of the first Test against New Zealand on Wednesday. 

England failed to regain the Ashes this summer, drawing 2-2 with holders Australia, but their home form in Test-match cricket has largely been strong - staying unbeaten throughout Trevor Bayliss' four-year reign in charge.

It has been away from home that the Test team have struggled, winning in South Africa on Bayliss' first tour but losing four of their next six overseas series, with a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka last year their only other success to go with a combined five wins across 20 Tests.

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Perhaps partly responsible has been the shift towards the white-ball format over the past four years, culminating in a stunning World Cup win on home soil in the summer.

Speaking to Sky Sports' Ian Ward ahead of the first of two Tests against New Zealand - live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9pm on Wednesday - the newly-appointed Silverwood has promised a renewed focus on the Test team.

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"The big challenge will be galvanising the [Test] team," said Silverwood. "That's the one area where we could improve massively and an area that [captain] Joe Root and I have already spoken a lot on.

"That will be the main focus. I think the one-day team is sort of running itself at the moment. Eoin Morgan has got a real good handle on that and the direction we're going in is exactly what we want.

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"The aim is to win everything. Winning that World Cup, I'm obviously delighted we did, but maybe the Test team suffered a bit as a result.

"It's almost about trying to re-centre now, bringing it back to somewhere in the middle and fighting a war on all fronts.

"I think we can. It's a great challenge."

Silverwood was announced as England's new head coach across all formats on October 7, stepping up from his position as bowling coach which he occupied since January 2018.

Chris Silverwood Chris Silverwood Upon his appointment, Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain described Silverwood as a "safe pair of hands", adding "he's very popular in the England dressing room, already in there with the players" but that "if he wants to do a good job, he'll have to upset a few as well".

Silverwood insists he is not afraid to be tough on the team should a sterner approach be required.

"I'm perfectly happy to do it, if it needs doing," added Silverwood. "At the same time, you can do it in a way that people respond well to.

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"If you're gonna crack the whip, give people a good reason for it, and if you're leaving someone out, give them a way of getting back in the team.

"It's about being honest and straight with the player. They might not like what you say, but at least they'll respect it and respond to it."

Key to turning around England's Test fortunes will be fixing a batting lineup that has under-achieved in recent years and, more specifically, getting the best out of skipper Root.

England coach Chris Silverwood and Director of Mens Cricket Ashley Giles during day one of the tour match between New Zealand XI and England at Cobham Oval on November 15, 2019 in Whangarei, New Zealand. England coach Chris Silverwood and Director of Mens Cricket Ashley Giles during day one of the tour match between New Zealand XI and England at Cobham Oval on November 15, 2019 in Whangarei, New Zealand. Root has bounced between No 3 and his preferred No 4 spot in the batting order and, in an effort to fix England's top-order troubles, he moved back up the order again for the Ashes.

But, Root's average slips from 47.91 to 38.12 when batting at No 3, scoring 13 fifties and only two hundreds across his 49 Test innings at the position, with his last ton coming three years ago in India.

Root is now set to slot back in at No 4 - where he averages 48.39 - in New Zealand, one of a number of changes to the batting lineup, with opener Dom Sibley set to make his Test debut, Joe Denly jumping up to No 3, Ollie Pope returning to the middle order and Joe Buttler taking the gloves and slotting in at No 7.

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New England manager Sam Allardyce says the job will be the " greatest challenge " of his career. In his first news conference since taking charge of the national side, Allardyce said his "man management" was his "biggest asset". Allardyce, who helped save Sunderland from Premier League relegation last

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"Wherever Joe wants to bat, I support him," said Silverwood. "He is our best batsman and we want him in a great frame of mind, going out and scoring runs.

"And it can free him up in terms of captaining the side as well.

"It's about stripping away some of the pressures from him, giving him the support that he needs and allowing him to be the player we all know he is.

Captain Eoin Morgan and Head Coach Chris Silverwood of England (L-R) look on prior to the Twenty20 International Tour match between the New Zealand XI and England on October 27, 2019 in Lincoln, New Zealand. Captain Eoin Morgan and Head Coach Chris Silverwood of England (L-R) look on prior to the Twenty20 International Tour match between the New Zealand XI and England on October 27, 2019 in Lincoln, New Zealand. "There is going to be a re-focus on batting for long periods of time. You will probably see selections that suggest that is what we're trying to do, like Sibley coming in at the top of the order, Joe dropping back to four.

"Jos has got the gloves. We think Jos at No 7 can be devastating. He's not someone the opposition captain would like to see there.

"But we've seen he can play both games. He can bat for long periods of time but, equally, if he needs to take the game forward, he can do that very effectively as we've seen.

"It's old fashioned, but it's about setting out to score heavily and then bowl sides out."

Watch the full interview with Silverwood at the top of the page, or during the build-up to day one of the first Test, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9pm on Wednesday, as he also gives his thoughts on...

- Coaching across all formats and not splitting the role

- His county cricket coaching background

- Selection for the Test squad and team, and how much of a say Root has

- Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid's Test hopes - do they still have a future in the longest format?

- Darren Gough joining the coaching staff as a bowling consultant for the Test series

- England's strength in depth in the bowling reserves


Leach in hospital with gastroenteritis .
England spinner Jack Leach remains in hospital with gastroenteritis after falling ill during the second Test.The 28-year-old - left out of England's XI for the game - became unwell during the first session on day two and was sent to hospital to be treated.

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