Why England's new head coach Chris Silverwood is the right man for the job

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Chris Silverwood (l) has been given the coveted England job.

It is no small detail that Chris Silverwood was declared “the standout candidate” in a field where one of his rivals to become England head coach had presided over India’s 2011 World Cup win.

Not only had Gary Kirsten deftly handled the suffocating pressure of more than a billion people by giving them the trophy they coveted most, the following year he masterminded South Africa’s rise to the top of the Test rankings.

While Kirsten may or may not have had some apprehension about England’s unrelenting schedule, many assumed it was a foregone conclusion he would be handed the keys to the kingdom when he emerged as a contender to replace Trevor Bayliss.

However, he and a number of other high-profile nominees were pipped to the post by a determined Yorkshireman, who becomes just the second Englishman to take sole charge of the national side since 1999.

Upon the announcement he would be promoted after two years as the side’s fast bowling coach, another description of Silverwood from England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Ashley Giles was instructive.

“Ultimately, his highest quality is that he is a winner and that will be an important part of the job as we look to strive to become the most respected team in the world across all formats,” Giles said.

“Chris was the standout candidate. I believe he is what we need to take our international teams forward.”

Try finding anyone at Essex who would disagree with those sentiments. Silverwood spent only two seasons in full-time charge at Chelmsford and yet the progress on his watch was remarkable.

Having edged out former Australia and South Africa coach Micky Arthur among others to the job, Silverwood got Essex promoted in his first season before ushering them to a first County Championship title in 25 years in 2017.

England soon came calling, and it is clear he made a favourable impression as part of Bayliss’ backroom staff, with Giles praising “the ultimate respect” he has from the players that have worked with him.

Born in Pontefract on March 5, 1975, Silverwood came to prominence as a fast-medium pace bowler as he embarked upon a professional career with Yorkshire, making his debut for the club as a teenager in 1993.

England recognition followed on the tour of Zimbabwe in 1996/97 but it would be another three years before he got another look in, ultimately settling with six Test and seven one-day international appearances.

Bob Cottam, one of his predecessors as England bowling coach, once remarked Silverwood was faster than fearsome South African paceman Allan Donald while he possessed an accurate bouncer and was able to extract plenty of seam movement at Headingley.

He moved on to Middlesex in 2006 but after an encouraging first season, a loss of form and injuries led to his release three years later.

Silverwood ended his playing career in Zimbabwe with Mashonaland Eagles before dipping his toes into coaching with Essex as their bowling coach in 2010, putting him on the path towards England’s top job nearly a decade later.

He became assistant to Paul Grayson in January 2014 while he lifted them from sixth to third the following year after being placed in temporary charge, which persuaded Essex to appoint him as head coach on a full-time basis.

Having underpinned their title win with a largely homegrown side, the structures he put in place have seen continued success, with Essex completing a championship and Vitality Blast double this year.

It is hoped he has the same Midas touch with England.

 Provided by Press Association Sports

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Ashwin was on fire at Vizag. Image credit - BCCI/Twitter.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s eight-wicket haul in India’s resound victory over South Africa in the first Test at Vizag has propelled the off-spinner back into the top-10 of the ICC rankings for bowlers.

Making only first Test appearance for India in 2019, the 33-year-old was in fine flow in the first innings at Vizag where he picked up seven wickets to set up a 203-run win for the hosts.

Ashwin’s exploits saw him equal Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of becoming the quickest in history to claim 350 Test dismissals with both the off-spinners attaining the feat in 66 matches apiece.

With his prolific show at Vizag, Ashwin jumped four spots in the ICC Test rankings to claim the 10th position in the table, according to a report by ESPNcricinfo. Meanwhile, Ashwin’s India team-mate Rohit Sharma’s electric debut in the opening spot saw the right-hander make a leap of 36 spots to rise to a career-best 17th in the batsmen’s rankings.

Rohit became the first Indian opener after Sunil Gavaskar to notch up twin tons in the same Test with the 32-year-old scoring 176 and 127 in his two innings at Vizag. Australia’s Steve Smith continued to top the batting charts and his lead over Virat Kohli has now stretched to a whopping 38 rating points following the India skipper’s failure to score big against South Africa.

There was joy for Ashwin’s spin partner Ravindra Jadeja in the latest update as well with the southpaw overtaking Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan to the No2 spot in the ICC rankings for Test all-rounders. Ashwin is in fifth place in the same table which is currently led by West Indies skipper Jason Holder.

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The two teams clash in the penultimate T20I at Lahore.

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The hosts were shocked by 64-runs in the first T20I on Saturday by what is a second-string Sri Lanka side missing key senior stars such as Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews.

With the series on the line in front of their home fans, Sarfraz Ahmed and his men will look to give a much better account of themselves at the Gaddafi stadium as they seek to justify their No1 billing the format.

Will the hosts be able to square the series at Lahore or will Sri Lanka’s young guns provide another surprise? Find out by following the ball-by-ball LIVE updates from the Gaddafi stadium below.

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