Key: Silverwood had an ‘impossible task’

Sky Cricket pundits Rob Key and Michael Atherton believe outgoing England coach Chris Silverwood was given too much responsibility; Nick Compton says a „hard-nosed“ coach is needed and thinks Alec Stewart would be a good interim appointment for the tour of West Indies in March

Last Updated: 04/02/22 9:19am

Rob Key says the decision to appoint Chris Silverwood as head coach for all formats of the game and give him selection powers was wrong

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Rob Key says the decision to appoint Chris Silverwood as head coach for all formats of the game and give him selection powers was wrong

Rob Key says the decision to appoint Chris Silverwood as head coach for all formats of the game and give him selection powers was wrong

Rob Key says sacked England head coach Chris Silverwood was given an „impossible task“ after being installed as a supremo figure in charge of both coaching and selection across all formats.

Silverwood was relieved of his duties by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Thursday night after losing 10 of his previous 14 Tests in charge, including the Ashes series 4-0.

The Yorkshireman was given added responsibility last April when former managing director Ashley Giles – who himself departed the ECB on Wednesday – removed Ed Smith as national selector.

England have won just one of the 11 Tests played since Smith’s departure with selection appearing muddled during the chastening Ashes series.

Key said of Silverwood on Sky Sports News: „It was probably not through his own doing. He was just given an impossible task in what he did. What sums it up is how wrong that decision was to put him in charge of everything.

„In this new era, we will probably go for a split coaching set-up with one coach for Test cricket and one for white-ball cricket, while we’ll probably have some form of selection panel back.

‘Amazing that one man had to do everything’

„That’s the complete opposite of what Silverwood was asked to do. He got given more power than pretty much any coach in my time.

„[But] what’s cost him really is the fact England haven’t won and their Test team is not performing to their potential.“

Michael Atherton added: „You would expect structures to change. I would find it amazing if one man is able to do everything – coaching across three formats with all responsibility for selection.

„No matter how capable an individual you are, that is an incredible workload and burden to shoulder and, I think, almost impossible.“

Mark Ramprakash says confused tactics and team selections made Silverwood's untenable

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Mark Ramprakash says confused tactics and team selections made Silverwood’s untenable

Mark Ramprakash says confused tactics and team selections made Silverwood’s untenable

Some of the peculiar decisions in the Ashes included omitting Stuart Broad and James Anderson from the series opener on a green Brisbane pitch and then leaving out their fastest bowler, Mark Wood, and a frontline spinner on a flat and dry Adelaide surface in the second Test.

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England racked up a record nine Test defeats in a calendar year in 2021, while during the pitiful Ashes campaign they failed to reach 300 even once across 10 innings – and were dismissed for less than 200 six times.

Nick Compton told Sky Sports News: „England’s performances have been pretty woeful, if we are honest. If you look at the statistics and some of the mistakes that have been made, I think there was a sense of inevitability.

„Cricket is an individual sport and a coach can only do so much but I think you can question the appointments of Silverwood, and Giles, in the first place.

It wasn’t just one or two people in the cricket world thinking they didn’t quite understand [some of the decisions], it was virtually every person I spoke to around the Ashes who could not believe what they were seeing in front of them.“

Mark Ramprakash on Chris Silverwood

„I think they should have gone for a more experienced campaigner. I now think they need a hard-nosed coach and director of cricket as I think it’s been a slightly soft environment, one could say.

„It’s not about making friends at the top, so what I think we need now is someone with a strong feel for the game and real credibility who can bring back some order.

„I think it’s important to have different selectors, people who can see the game from a distance and have a bit more time to spend in the county system watching players.

„Silverwood had three forms of the game on his shoulders and was responsible for selection. I don’t think many could have coped with that, certainly not someone with Silverwood’s lack of coaching experience.

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England’s next coach?

Sir Andrew Strauss, who has taken over Giles’ role on an interim basis, will appoint a temporary coach for the Test tour of West Indies in March, with Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart touted as a contender.

Compton said: „Stewart is a strong cricket man, a wise cricket person. He has been successful in the West Indies as a player and has huge credibility and experience. He could do the interim job.

„Long-term, Andy Flower had huge success with England. Okay, things didn’t perhaps finish the way he would have liked but he has gone away to franchise cricket and is now older and wiser.

„He is a ruthless individual, a tough man who would not be afraid to call things out, make some of the changes and bring order back – but Gary Kirsten is someone I think should have got the job in the first place.“

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