Connect with us


Shock coaching SOS: England’s play for Aussie legend



The Covid-19 cluster inside Cricket Australia’s Ashes bubble ballooned to eight on Thursday with Silverwood, who is England’s sole selector, and ICC match referee David Boon forced to skip the fourth Test at the SCG because they must isolate in Melbourne. Boon is asymptomatic but returned a positive Covid test on Thursday while Silverwood has been deemed a close contact after one of his family members became the latest case within the England touring party. Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.It is understood Cricket Australia has forked out for a second chartered flight to Sydney on Friday so England and Australia can board separately as fears the virus is spreading. The camps will still share the same exclusive hotel in the Harbour City for the next 11 or 12 days.More than 10 per cent of England’s touring party has now contracted the virus and several more must remain stranded in Melbourne as close contacts, which includes Silverwood who, unlike Boon, does not have the virus. Bowling coaches Jon Lewis (fast) and Jeetan Patel (spin) as well as strength and conditioning coach Darren Veness will also remain in Melbourne for what looms as a lonely New Year’s Eve celebration. England Cricket Board management will almost certainly tear up Silverwood’s $900,000 contract after the fifth Test and Ponting looms as the dream replacement. But the punt on Ponting is considered a Hail Mary because the Australian legend earns so much as a media star at Channel 7, Cricket Australia and internationally, as well as coaching IPL franchise Delhi Capitals. Ponting has not held back when assessing England this summer, urging them to use a Kookaburra ball in County Cricket and flatten their devilish pitches to better prepare for conditions down under. “I don’t think I’ve seen a worse-performing team in Australia,” Ponting told after the Boxing Day rout. “There’s some (batting) techniques there that I just know are not going to stand up at Test level.”There is genuine sympathy for Silverwood, who has steered arguably England’s worst batting line-up to ever tour Australia and now getting locked down as a close contact. Silverwood was at the MCG nets when England trained on Wednesday, which should have been day four of the Boxing Day Test.The 46-year-old has a break scheduled after the Ashes and if the ECB does move him on quickly then it could ask deputy Paul Collingwood to steer the Test tour of the Caribbean in March. Collingwood has already been handed the reins for the preceding white-ball matches during Silverwood’s leave.ECB managing director Ashley Giles is likely to arrive in Sydney before the fourth Test to launch a full-scale review into the failed Ashes series. Chief executive Tom Harrison, who is already in Australia and forgot to bring his accreditation to the MCG on Boxing Day, will also gather feedback. South African Gary Kirsten finished runner-up to Silverwood when England last searched for a coach and remains under the ECB’s nose, coaching at Welsh Fire in The Hundred league. Batting coach Graham Thorpe will lead England at the SCG in Silverwood’s absence.It’s understood that while Silverwood only has to serve seven days in isolation, his asymptomatic relative who tested positive is locked down for 10 days and Silverwood wants to remain with his family for the duration. England has recorded seven positives with three of its support staff and four family members struck down by the virus.Both camps will now undergo daily PCR testing for the rest of the series.NSW-based ICC referee Steve Bernard will oversee the SCG Test before Tasmanian Boon makes a return for the fifth Test in Hobart.Meet the former star charged with producing SCG miracle-Sam LandsbergerEngland has lost its coach for the fourth Test match in Sydney, with Chris Silverwood and his family forced to isolate in Melbourne after a seventh positive case in the camp.The England Cricket Board confirmed a fourth family member of the touring party has contracted the virus after three support staffers tested positive during the Boxing Day Test.The cluster means England’s bowlers – under fire from captain Joe Root for missing their lengths in the first two Tests – will have to prepare for the fourth Test without their coaches.It’s understood fast bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin coach Jeetan Patel as well as strength and conditioning boss Darren Veness are also in isolation.Silverwood is England’s sole selector.England batting coach Graham Thorpe will take the reins for the fourth Test. It is unclear whether he will also step in for Silverwood and pick the team, or whether the sidelined head coach will have input from Melbourne.More than 10 per cent of England’s touring party have now fallen sick with the virus and several of their relatives, such as Silverwood, are also stuck in isolation for 10 days.It’s understood both teams will now be tested daily for the rest of the series. They underwent another round of PCR tests on Wednesday, which showed the England cluster had grown from six to seven cases.Australia and England will take a chartered flight to Sydney on Friday where they will share an exclusive private hotel for the SCG Test, which begins on Tuesday.“As a result of the positive test, England Men’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood will have to isolate for 10 days, along with his family, in Melbourne and will miss the fourth Ashes Test,” the ECB said in a statement.“A fourth successive round of PCR tests will be administered today (Thursday).”Silverwood, 46, is fighting for his job after the uncompetitive 3-0 start to the Ashes.Sharp, vicious knives already out for abysmal Poms – Robert CraddockThe ramifications of Ashes cricket’s Tumultuous Tuesday will be huge for both teams.The knives are already out for England and they are sharp and vicious.No England team ever gets bowled out for 68 and sneaks off without feeling a blowtorch burning their backsides.To lose the Ashes two hours shy of the scheduled halfway point of the series was a complete embarrassment.Australia’s domination started in the selection room.While England were confused, compromised and as consumed by the next Test as the one they were playing, new Australian selection boss George Bailey gave clear early messages to the Australian team which helped soothe restless minds.All of Bailey’s major moves gave him something back.Travis Head is growing by the innings, Mitchell Starc was outstanding, Alex Carey has been steady and classy, Jyhe Richardson had exceptional moments and Scott Boland became an instant Ashes legend.From the moment he endorsed Marcus Harris a few weeks before the series Bailey always looked like a man with a plan.Boland was his most controversial and inspired choice in a story of many wonderful threads.Boland’s Indigenous heritage makes it special enough but not to be forgotten is that fact he is Australia’s oldest fast bowling debutant since Geoff Noblett 71 years ago.This is a victory for the humble craftsman, the quiet achiever, the slow roasted talent who never gave up on his baggy green dream even though it came at an age (32) when many of his craft are just starting to reach for the pipe and slippers.In a world full of Flash Harry T20 stars who would get blown away by a decent gust of breeze what a joy it was to see a stout-hearted Steady Eddie seamer get Dennis Lillee-like receptions from his home crowds.Boland is a quiet Indigenous man who made his Sheffield Shield debut 10 years ago but from the moment he entered camp Australian teammates sensed he a serene, solid professional on top of his game.A few years ago he wasn’t even certain he would get a game for Victoria, never mind Australia, but the tumble dryer of professional cricket had him ready for anything.For Australia, under the relaxed yet inspiring leadership of Pat Cummins, this feels like the start of their journey rather than the summit and three subcontinental tours over the next two years will be a major measuring stick to their true progress.England, by contrast, are in crisis.They have won just one of their last 12 matches – most losing margins have been massive – and this series loss seems likely to spell the end of Joe Root’s captaincy.No-one doubts his world class status as a batsman, his decency as a person or his sincere commitment to the job which he has held for 59 Tests.But one man can only do so much and Root looks like a man running out of ideas and it would not surprise if his deputy Ben Stokes takes over soon.They are the only two English batsmen who have improved into the Test team and Root admitted after the game the gap between Test and English county cricket is too great for his peace of mind.Root grew up as a cheeky, fun-loving kid with a ready smile but to see him sitting square-jawed and emotionally flattened at his post match press conference saying everything except the blinding truth – his team are ordinary – was to witness the brutal stresses of leadership.As wonderful as they played in this series – and they truly did reach high standards – this series is a continuation of a theme where Australia simply smash England in Australia.Australia have won 12 of their last 13 Tests against England in Australia and the stunning news is the gap seems to be getting wider.Ashes – Test 3 – SnapshotWHO WILL SURVIVE AFTER LATEST ASHES DISASTER? SAM LANDSBERGERCoach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root are in the gun with the England Cricket Board set to dejectedly fly home from Australia to launch a total reset of its talent pathways for the second time in seven years.The tourists have won just one of their past 12 Tests and their nine defeats in 2021 has equalled the record set by minnow Bangladesh back in 2003.Silverwood is odds-on to be sacked after the quest to reclaim the urn was over in less than 12 days, although Root may hang on simply because three-format star Ben Stokes is the only real contender to take the reins.Bangladesh eliminated England from the 2015 World Cup in the group stage, triggering a full-scale review as Australian Trevor Bayliss replaced axed coach Peter Moores and a 90-game build towards the successful 2019 World Cup was launched from ground zero.Sweeping change rolled through England after the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, led by the departures of coach Andy Flower and star batsman Kevin Pietersen.England’s broken County Cricket system is riddled by playing on the wrong pitches at the wrong time of the season.The devil tracks force batsmen to play aggressively because they know there’s a ball with their name on it coming so they might as well try and get a quick 30.“I think the best 18 players from the County game are on this tour,” Root said on Tuesday.“Unfortunately, sometimes with where the game is at in our Country system right now, the only place you can really learn is out here in the harshest environment for what is quite a young batting group.“You look back at 2015 and the reset that happened in white-ball cricket, maybe that’s something that should happen in our red-ball game as well.”No English batter to debut in the past six years has averaged more than wicketkeeper Ben Foakes’ 31.5, who failed to make the Ashes squad.Root – who equalled Sir Alistair Cook’s record of 59 Tests as captain – refused to buy into talk that he was walking the plank as skipper.“My energy has to be all about trying to win the next game. I can’t be selfish and start thinking about myself,” he said.“The series isn’t over yet. We’ve got two very big games and more than anything it’s not wanting to look past that,” he said.Selection blunders, reports of infighting between Root and his bowlers and now a Covid-19 cluster have conspired for an Ashes nightmare just one month after the captain linked his legacy to this failed series.England’s 68 runs was the lowest Ashes total in Australia since 1936 and England’s lowest total in Australia since 1904.Root’s team also failed to reach 200 for the 13th time this year. But the 30-year-old said it was now about restoring “pride in the badge”.“It’s bitterly disappointing to be 3-0 down, but with two Test matches to go we have to try and make sure we come away from this tour with a couple of wins,” Root said.

Source link