A new coach, assessing Loughborough and plotting for the future... Giles' in-tray as he becomes director of cricket

Ashley Giles will face the media as England's new director of cricket for the first time on Wednesday. Here, The Cricketer dissects the big issues facing the former spinner as he takes up the job...


Sam Morshead | 1/8/2019 at 12:44 PM

The next coach

The most pressing matter facing Ashley Giles is the search for a successor to Trevor Bayliss.

England’s coach is stepping down at the conclusion of his current contract in September and not only the identity of his replacement but the nature of the national team’s backroom structure going forward will be up for debate.

Giles must weigh up the relative merits of having individual coaches for red and white-ball cricket - a topic he knows plenty about having taken charge of the England ODI and T20 sides in a former life, while Andy Flower held the reins of the Test team - versus the consistency of one man having control of both.

Bayliss has conceded that the national team could benefit from a specialist T20 coach and there are plenty of them in circulation currently, given the explosion of franchise tournaments around the world. The timing of such an appointment would also make sense, given there are back-to-back T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021.

With most of the other major decisions already made prior to his arrival, for the next 12 months at least, Giles can take the time to investigate the pros and cons of each option. And then comes the recruitment process.

There is little reason for England to change the overall outlook that has brought them so much white-ball joy in recent years, so Giles will surely not be looking for a revolutionary. The director of cricket will also need to think about the future of the existing backroom team, from assistant coach Paul Farbrace downwards, and how they might or might not work with the next incumbent of the top job.

And then there are the various layers below… more on that later.


Trevor Bayliss is stepping down as England coach in September

Balancing the formats

Although the next year is fairly regimented - a Windies tour, the World Cup, the Ashes - from next winter onwards, the English game becomes cricketing spaghetti.

While the ECB will be busy launching their brand new and hugely expensive brainchild, The Hundred, Giles and England will be focusing on Twenty20 and the introduction of the inaugural World Test Championship.

So many formats, not enough time. Establishing a balance will be critical.

Overseas assignments

With the ECB having cut their overseas placement programme and pace programme, and with the coffers somewhat dented by the bulging expenses of The Hundred, Giles will have to turn beancounter and figure out where money is best spent on player development.

What, for example, will the future hold for England Lions and Young Lions tours beyond the imminent trip to India?

Can Giles come up with a solution that allows the next generation of stars to experience the wider cricketing world, even though there is no central money pool to fund it? If the ECB are to ask the counties to back such initiatives out of their own pocket, it may at least sound better from someone who has only just left the system.

Then there’s the North vs South series in the Caribbean - introduced during Andrew Strauss’s time in charge but abandoned after two years despite encouraging remarks from the players who took part.

The ECB’s reserves are considerably lower these days - down from £73.1million in 016 to £8.6m last summer - and Giles will not have buckets of cash to throw at projects.

A frugal approach will be necessary.


England Young Lions head coach Jon Lewis

Man management

Giles is a methodical man, and - some say - something of a disciplinarian.

In February’s edition of The Cricketer, George Dobell outlines the new director of cricket’s ruthless attitude towards young players who stray from the straight and narrow, and it will be intriguing to see how that part of his personality fits into his new role.

His man-management styles have not always been well received - notably by Michael Carberry during his time in charge of England’s one-day setup - but supporters will likely be pleased to have a man at the helm who is not going to be too chummy with his players.


It must be something of a curiosity for anyone even vaguely interested in the inner workings of the ECB that its top dog, Tom Harrison, has not given a print interview for nearly a year (he is, however, due to speak to assembled journalists on Wednesday).

At a time when the governing body is desperately in need of a positive public image, Giles will need to front up regularly and be willing to open himself up to criticism.

Having been at the frontline of the sport in various guises for a decade and a half, the 45-year-old knows enough about cricket’s PR dynamics to do a more-than-adequate job.

Looking to the future

At some point during his tenure, Giles, selectors Ed Smith and James Taylor, and England in general are going to have to at least begin the process of transitioning England’s Test side away from the magnificent partnership of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Neither has yet given firm indication that they are even ready to start thinking about hanging up their spikes, but a formal transition plan would not go amiss.

Last summer gave a glimpse of the talents of Chris Woakes and Sam Curran but whoever comes in for Anderson and Broad must have the time to focus 95 per cent of their energies on their bowling.

How Giles goes about that process post-Ashes will be intriguing.


How much longer will Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson continue to play for England?


The ECB’s national performance centre in the East Midlands routinely comes under the microscope whenever the England team is struggling.

The vast numbers of employees - in positions from coaching to sports science and nutrition - offers a stick with which detractors can easily beat the governing body.

Giles will need to look into whether it is generating the results demanded by its outlay on personnel and, furthermore, whether cutbacks need to be made or investment redirected from one project to another.

Oh… and win the World Cup, please.

That is all.

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