England’s surge to Ashes victory has been depicted as a triumph of attacking intent – but assistant coach Paul Farbrace explains the new style came about not entirely by design in the drawn series at home to New Zealand at the start of the summer.
Farbrace & Bayliss have transformed this England team from data-led robots to buccaneering free spirits. They look liberated. #Ashes
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 8, 2015
England impressed not just with their comprehensive victory but the manner in which they won with the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes taking it to the Australians.
The seeds may have been sown against New Zealand in which England matched the Black Caps attacking intent with bat and ball.
“I don’t think we set out to be an ultra-attacking team. It just happened by chance, at 30 for four on that first day at Lord’s, that (Joe) Root plays one way, get his singles and scores boundaries, and (Ben) Stokes came in and whacked it, Farbrace said.
“All of a sudden the headlines were ‘this new England way of playing’… but I think we stumbled across it as opposed to set out to play in that way.”
Either way, it is working. “It suits us,” added Farbrace. “You look at the way the middle order play and they are all quite attacking batsmen. Trev keeps telling them to have a positive mindset, because then you are in the best position to play whatever ball is delivered to you – in the best position to leave, defend or hit it.”
Farbrace knows there will still be blips between the victories – especially with tough winter tours in the offing, against Pakistan in the UAE and then on to South Africa.
He namechecks 12 England cricketers, across the formats, with potential to be stars of the future – and describes Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Broad and Anderson as “absolute dream senior players”. But exacting tests lie ahead.
“The next Test match series in UAE will be as tough, if not tougher, than this series – because the conditions are very different, and Pakistan are a fantastic side in those conditions,” he said. “We have got to play exceptionally well in that series. We will be a little bit up-and-down, hit-and-miss and inconsistent. We have to accept that – which is hard as coaches.”
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