Ashley Giles feels England star Ben Stokes' success is being used against him

Press Association Sport 10:27 12/10/2019
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England star all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Ashley Giles has revealed concerns that Ben Stokes’ growing fame is being “used against him” after rejecting allegations of an altercation between the player and his wife.

On Tuesday afternoon the Media Guido blog published pictures of an alleged physical confrontation between the couple during the Professional Cricketers’ Association awards ceremony at the Roundhouse.

Clare Stokes quickly rubbished claims of violence in a Twitter post, while the England all-rounder issued a firm rebuttal to the Daily Mirror, in which he labelled the story “totally irresponsible” and damaging to victims of domestic abuse.

It has also emerged that Stokes and his mother are launching legal action against The Sun following a front-page story on a family tragedy that occurred more than 30 years ago.

Giles, managing director of the England men’s team, checked in with the pair this week and his only worries involved the increasing spotlight the 28-year-old finds himself under following a summer that saw him light up the World Cup and the Ashes with historic performances.

“I was pretty sure as soon as I saw the story there was nothing in it but it was great to speak to both of them,” said Giles.

“They were obviously concerned. We can all say domestic violence is a really serious issue and we’re not making light of that at all but in this case it’s a very happy couple having some fun – a picture telling a thousand words but just the wrong ones.

“I think it’s just a worry in some sense, as to how his profile can be used against him and how susceptible they are as a family to this. The bigger your profile the more difficult it can become.”

Interest in Stokes will be high again when he returns to the country of his birth, New Zealand, later this year and with a Twenty20 World Cup and an away Ashes series all on the horizon, things show no signs of slowing up.

Ashley Giles.

Ashley Giles.

England may well give some thought to how they might ease the burden on their star man and Giles is willing to do so if he can.

“I think everything is ramped up for all these guys now. Success, money…it brings more pressures and they are certainly far different from what we experienced when I played,” he said.

“There’s a lot of good stuff they get but a lot of negative stuff too. Part of my job is to protect them from that. How you do that I’m not sure, you can’t always watch them and their families 24 hours a day, but we’re certainly there for them. Player welfare and support is a big thing for us going forwards.”

Giles had been hoping to talk exclusively about a new era under the guidance of Chris Silverwood, who was this week confirmed as Trevor Bayliss’ successor.

The appointment of the team’s fast bowling coach to the top job was a huge responsibility for Giles’ tenure and he is confident in his call.

“It’s the biggest decision yet,” he said.

“We had some very good candidates, all with different strengths and different plans. It took me a couple of long days, with sleepless nights but that’s how it should be: it’s a big job.

“I was delighted to make that phone call. When you can ring someone who really wants the job, who’s worked really hard towards it, it’s one of the better calls you make.”

Silverwood will oversee a team of three assistants, comprising batting coach Graham Thorpe and Paul Collingwood, whose permanent role in the backroom staff is currently being signed off.

The final position will be his old role in charge of the fast bowlers. Silverwood will be given a big say in who takes over his prior brief, with the potential for short-term cover while the process continues.

Silverwood will be encouraged to take time off from the exhaustive international schedule once he settles into the role, with those beneath him encouraged to step up in his absence.

“If he’s away from T20 cricket Colly would be the perfect man, if it’s Test cricket there’s an opportunity for Thorpey to lead,” said Giles.

“There’s a vacancy with the bowling. You need outside views as well sometimes, whether it’s someone from a different country, a different age group or someone with a few more grey hairs then fine. It’s an opportunity for Chris to have a bit of a free hit, for who he wants in that role.”

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New England coach Chris Silverwood hailed as the 'outstanding candidate'

Press Association Sport 13:27 07/10/2019
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England have appointed Chris Silverwood as their new head coach.

The 44-year-old has spent the past two years serving as fast bowling coach under Trevor Bayliss, who stepped down last month at the end of his contract.

While former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten and Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart emerged as contenders to succeed the Australian,

Silverwood was described as the “outstanding candidate” by a three-man England and Wales Cricket Board selection panel.

Silverwood said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed England head coach.

“I aim to continue the great work that has been done over the past five years and build on our future, especially in the Test arena.

“I have enjoyed working with the players over the past two seasons, and developing the best crop of talent in the English game. I am excited to get started and build teams that the whole game can be proud of.”

Managing director of England men’s cricket Ashley Giles, who was on the selection panel, cited Silverwood’s knowledge of the current set-up as a factor.

“We are delighted to confirm Chris as England men’s head coach. We have gone through a thorough process and looked at all the options that were available to us. Chris was the standout candidate,” he said.

“I believe he is what we need to take our international teams forward. He is somebody we know well, but it is his intimate understanding of our structures and systems and his close relationships with Test captain Joe Root and white-ball captain Eoin Morgan that will help us develop our plans for the next few years.

“He has performed exceptionally well during his role as an assistant coach and has the ultimate respect of the players that have worked with him.”

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Jonny Bairstow backed to bounce back after England snub for tour of New Zealande

Press Association Sport 11:19 24/09/2019
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National selector Ed Smith is backing Jonny Bairstow to bounce back and have a very good career in Test cricket despite being dropped from the England Test squad for the tour of New Zealand.

The wicket-keeper batsman has averaged 20.25 in red-ball cricket for England this year and scored only one half-century in the Ashes.

It has resulted in the Yorkshire player missing out on a place in Joe Root’s 15-man squad, which contains uncapped foursome Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson.

Jos Buttler will don the gloves while Surrey’s Ollie Pope will return to the middle-order after two tests against India in August 2018.

England play five Twenty20s in New Zealand, which Bairstow will be involved in, but with the two Tests not counting towards Test Championship points, the selectors have used these games as a chance to look at others.

“Jonny is a very talented cricketer and we believe he has the potential to be a top, top player in Test cricket for England,” Smith said.

“He has played a lot, in all forms with a very hectic schedule and it’s an opportunity for him to reset and work on one or two things.

“If I was asked to give a prediction, my prediction is he will come back stronger and have a very good England career in Test cricket in the future.”

Bairstow’s omission will not be the only change to the team which defeated Australia at the Oval in the fifth Ashes Test to draw the series 2-2.

Warwickshire opener Sibley is expected to open alongside Rory Burns, while Joe Denly should bat at three after captain Root asked to return to his favoured position of four.

Smith explained: “We feel as selectors very comfortable supporting Joe’s decision to bat at four.

“We obviously work very closely with the captain, he wants to bat four, we want to support that so we want to develop a top three to support Joe’s desire to bat at four.”

Given Eoin Morgan had a World Cup to prepare for and Root had the Ashes, the two England captains have not had many chances to witness the best players coming through on the county circuit this summer.

Despite this, Smith revealed the pair were a big part of the selection process of the Test and T20 squads, after receiving information from him and fellow selector James Taylor as well as England’s batting and bowling coaches Graham Thorpe and Chris Silverwood.

“Joe and Eoin have been very involved, even though they have had a long summer,” Smith said. “We wanted to give them all the information we could obviously from our own eyes and from the scouts.

“Even though they are both out of the country currently, they have been peppered with phone calls. The specialist coaches were involved and the same applies to Graham Thorpe and Chris Silverwood.”

Sibley and Crawley are rewarded with Test call-ups after excellent County Championship seasons for Warwickshire and Kent respectively.

“It’s a thrill to have it confirmed and to be going away with England to New Zealand is really pleasing. We’ll see how it goes out there and hopefully I will get a Test match,” Sibley said.

Crawley admitted to expecting a Lions rather than a Test call-up, but added: “It was an amazing phone call to get. Once he said I was picked in the full squad I kind of zoned out for a few seconds and wasn’t totally sure what he was saying for a moment, but Ed was very positive and I can’t wait to get going.”

Mahmood and Parkinson have enjoyed more success in white-ball cricket for Lancashire, which has resulted in them being part of Morgan’s T20 squad, but they will remain in New Zealand after the five T20s are over and be part of the Test set-up with England thinking “long-term.”

Parkinson found out the news via his team-mate Mahmood shouting down to him from the balcony mid-match.

“I’m very happy and proud, and it’s an amazing way to finish the season,” he said.

Jason Roy is not part of either squad, but Smith insisted that was down to an “incredibly hectic summer” which also explains why Jofra Archer, Root, Ben Stokes, Buttler and Moeen Ali will not play in the five T20 internationals.

With the T20 World Cup just over a year away, Morgan will cast his eye over Somerset batsman Tom Banton and Worcestershire fast bowler Pat Brown against the Black Caps.

England will be without James Anderson, Mark Wood and Olly Stone for the Tests in New Zealand due to injury, but they may be part of a bowling camp which will act as preparation for the winter tour to South Africa.

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