By Pritha Sarkar
England turned to the old enemy in an attempt to restore national pride as Trevor Bayliss became the first Australian to be appointed head coach of the team on Tuesday.
With an Ashes series against Australia looming on home soil in six weeks’ time, the 52-year-old former Sri Lanka coach has been tasked with repairing battered reputations following England’s 5-0 humiliation Down Under 16 months ago.
“What particularly excites me about the role is the chance to work with a very talented group of players. I firmly believe that the team has a bright future and I’ll be doing everything I can to help them realise their potential and achieve success on a consistent basis,” Bayliss said in a statement.
He succeeds Peter Moores, who was sacked earlier this month following England’s dismal performance at this year’s World Cup and a 1-1 draw in a test series in West Indies.
“Trevor has an outstanding record as coach, has global experience and is very highly regarded in the game,” England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss said.
“He has proved himself in both domestic and international cricket, has a strong reputation for man-management and has shown how to build winning teams in all three formats.”
Bayliss faces the huge task of instilling some stability into England after their 5-0 mauling in Australia led to a period of turbulence, with off-field matters drawing as many headlines as the team’s miserable form on the pitch.
During the past 18 months, controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen was sacked after the England management accused of him of being a divisive presence in the dressing room during the doomed 2013-14 Ashes series.
ECB managing director Paul Downton departed in April as he paid the price for England’s failure to progress during the group stages of the World Cup.
Moores was also axed for failing to guide England to a series win in the Caribbean against what many considered to be a weak West Indies team.
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie was expected to be appointed to the role after talks with Strauss last week but Bayliss was chosen for his proven track record as a coach.
He led Sri Lanka to the 2011 World Cup final and has twice won the Sheffield Shield with New South Wales.
Bayliss has also enjoyed success in the Twenty20 format, winning the Australian Big Bash and Champions League with Sydney Sixers in 2012 and the Indian Premier League title with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 and 2014.
“His expertise in the shorter forms of the game will be vital as we build towards three major ICC events over the next four years; the ICC World T20 tournament in India in 2016 and the ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup which will be staged in England and Wales in 2017 and 2019 respectively,” Strauss added.
The Ashes begins on July 8.