Paul Farbrace will jump at the chance to replace Trevor Bayliss as England coach if it is offered next year – and has demonstrated once more he is prepared to make bold calls in office.
Farbrace’s brief stint in sole charge, while Bayliss sits out the Twenty20 against Australia and three against India, will begin with a fresh beginning for Jos Buttler – as opener alongside Jason Roy at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
That call has been made in conjunction with Bayliss and England’s selectors, but it takes effect nonetheless on Farbrace’s watch.
As England seek to add Twenty 20 ‘Ashes’ supremacy to their 5-0 one-day international whitewash of Australia, the deployment of Buttler and Roy together – with Alex Hales to bat at three – may soon bring further high-profile consequences.
Joe Root’s continued first-choice Twenty20 involvement is one example – while Hales is perhaps no longer a certainty in the format which helped to make his name, once Ben Stokes returns from injury to put an extra squeeze on an already jam-packed line-up.
Farbrace’s track record suggests he will not be afraid of those judgements, having promoted Stokes to number six in the Test line-up and overseen England’s ODI revolution during his previous temporary tenure in 2015.
As for his readiness to replace Bayliss when the Australian steps aside in September next year, Farbrace is not dodging the most pertinent question.
“Of course,” he said. “If (England and Wales cricket Board director Andrew) Strauss said we want to offer you the job, or split it (between formats) and me look after one of the teams, it would be so difficult to say no to that – it really would.
“If come next September … I ended up being offered the position that would be great.”
Root’s Twenty20 position, for the first time in his career, is one of those which may come under pressure.
Asked if there is a chance the sprint format may have moved past England’s most reliable and adaptable batsman, Farbrace conceded the possibility but went on to provide a robust defence of the Yorkshireman’s credentials.
He said: “Yes, there is… but this series of four games in 10 days is a great opportunity.
“I think (Joe) is thoroughly looking forward to playing in them.
“His (83) in the World Cup in Mumbai was as good as any T20 innings we have seen in the last few years.
“You don’t have to keep hitting sixes – you can hit fours as well – and Rooty has shown he is quite capable of hitting boundaries. You don’t want everyone playing the same way.”
Buttler’s elevation to a position he has filled just once previously – with a man-of-the-match half-century against Sri Lanka two years ago – was a decision reached by committee.
“Trev, (captain Eoin Morgan) and myself had a chat yesterday – and the selection meeting the week before – it was something they talked about there.
“(Jos) has shown just how good a player he is.
“My view is that with 120 balls you need your best players facing as many balls as possible.
“This idea of people being finishers, I don’t necessarily agree with.”
That is the batting order sorted in the immediate term then.
But Farbrace does not need reminding selection is about to become even tougher once Stokes is back.
“You need to get your best players in … there is danger when you have six quality batters in your top six, you are almost wasting a batter,” he added.
“Once you start with the batting order, the chances are you’ll stick with the same group of players – then maybe Ben coming in towards the end of it.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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