New England coach Trevor Bayliss has vowed to bring a typical Australian aggression to the side’s Ashes bid, promising to “fight fire with fire”.
Bayliss, from Goulburn in New South Wales, will make history in Cardiff next week by becoming the first Australian to lead England in the battle for the urn.
At Lord’s on Wednesday he named his squad for the first Test on July 8 – comprising the XI who ended the series against New Zealand plus Yorkshire’s uncapped leg-spinner Adil Rashid and seamer Steven Finn – and also laid down his expectations.
Put simply, Bayliss wants his charges to meet the Australian challenge head on – attacking when attacked and banishing any sense of timidity. If Alastair Cook’s men can live up to those words, it promises to be quite a series.
“To be successful against Australia it’s certainly not going to be by taking a backward step or allowing the Australians to dictate terms,” he said. “You’ve got to get out and fight fire with fire, be positive and aggressive and individuals have to play their own natural game.
“They have been selected to play their way and that is what’s going to be successful for them.”
There were signs that Bayliss’ message was already filtering through from afar during the ding-dong battles against Brendon McCullum’s Black Caps.
England, under the guidance of Bayliss’ number two Paul Farbrace, played unusually dynamic cricket in the drawn Test series then won both one-day and T20 rubbers with a young, fearless squad. And the 52-year-old has vowed not to let that momentum stall.
“The way the game has been played over the last five or 10 years you could argue that maybe we haven’t kept up to date as some of the other teams,” he said.
“Whether you like it or not the T20 format and the one-day format do have a bearing on the way the game is played at Test level. It’s that philosophy of being positive and aggressive. Being positive is not necessarily trying to hit fours and sixes. It’s mental aggression.”
Bayliss boasts a glittering CV including Sheffield Shield titles with New South Wales, T20 success with Sydney Sixers and Kolkata Knight Riders and a World Cup final appearance while in charge of Sri Lanka. But he is a coach who prefers to empower players rather than dictate to them.
“At the top level it’s about creating a good environment,” he said. “If you look in history at the best players in the world, they’ve all been self-reliant. One of my philosophies is that the best coaches are the other 10 players in the team.”
Know more about Sport360 Application