Test Match Sofa
Giles plays down talk of succeeding Flower
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
Outgoing Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles has played down the chances of him becoming England’s next overall head coach and talked up Andy Flower’s chances of extending his stay as team director following his own appointment as England’s first full time one-day and Twenty20 coach.
Giles will work with Warwickshire on a part-time basis until Christmas before he leads England for the first time in their one-day international series in India in January.
It has been suggested that Giles might act as a fill-in for Flower in India to allow the England’s supremo a break from international cricket but the England and Wales Cricket Board decided to make Giles’s appointment a full-time one in an attempt to keep Flower fresh for Test cricket.
“Andy has been a brilliant coach and rather than burning out your best people and then get rid of them you need to keep them as long as you can and this structure allows you to do that,” Giles said.
“At some stage in the future Andy is going to give up anyway, I’m sure, but if the structure works I don’t see any reason why down the line you need to change it. This could be the new edge that we need. It’s important that we and Andy work closely together. Andy ultimately is the boss and I will report to him, but we will work closely on strategy and selection.
“I have only done county seasons and they are stressful and hard work. To do that for 12 months a year must be really hard work. You need to stay fresh and have enthusiasm and give that to the players to have success.”
Giles was part of the discussions with Hugh Morris, the ECB’s managing director of England cricket, and Flower in India recently that led to the new coaching structure. He was asked whether he would be interested in taking on the new role and jumped at the chance.
“It was first mentioned about three weeks ago. While we were India I was able to sit down with Hugh Morris and Andy,” Giles said. “There was obviously a concern about the workload for the head coach and it was discussed if they split the roles and there was restructuring what the roles and responsibilities would look like.
“It didn’t mean that I was going to get the job but the two of us have obviously worked quite closely together on the selection panel so we talked about the issues there could be if you did have two coaches. There were things that could come up – selection, the rest and rotation policy and results.
“Of course I had interest in the role. There was a possibility of me taking the one-day squad to India after Christmas. When that came up my first thought was that it would be up to Warwickshire because I am still employed by them.
“Then it developed to where if there was a restructuring would I be interested and the answer was yes. I have never hidden the ambition to coach internationally.
“It was getting your head around what it would look like as a split role. But it definitely allows you much more time to plan properly for a series, to spend time with the analysts and some of the one-day players and watch one-day cricket domestically and see young guys coming through, as well as the importance of the work-life balance for the head coach.”
“Because if you take on that lead role, then it is a huge commitment. It’s a great honour to do but it completely changes your life.”
Giles agreed to take up the England post after consulting his Norwegian wife Stine, who is recovering well after undergoing treatment for two brain tumours less than six months ago.
“Family is first and we discussed it. Stine’s view - and she had always been very supportive of my career and at the moment she is doing very well - was that it’s an opportunity you just can’t pass up because you don’t know whether it will come round again,” he said. "So I had to take it, with her blessing.”
Giles’s England appointment will end a 20-year connection with Warwickshire, the county he joined in 1992 after his native Surrey showed little interest in signing a player who had recently converted to spin from left-arm seam.
“I have been here 20 years so I have really mixed feelings and Stine said she was really sad that I was leaving. I have a close bond with the club,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean I am going to favour the club in any way in my new role but I have had a long and enjoyable career here both as a player and coach. Edgbaston means a lot to me and it will continue to mean a lot to me.”
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