Trevor Bayliss will step down as England head coach in September 2019 after the World Cup and Ashes series at home. He will, however, still look to rebuild the Test side with a view to the “holy grail” of winning in Australia in four years’ time.
Speaking in the aftermath of England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, Bayliss confirmed he would not be seeking a contract extension after the bumper summer next year and revealed Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, was made aware of this 12 months ago.
“I have never been anywhere any longer than four or five years,” said Bayliss, who was head-hunted by Strauss back in 2015. “After four or five years it is time to move on, whether you are doing well or not. A new voice, a different approach reinvigorates things.”
While Test results under Bayliss have been mixed, with hammerings from the last two winters in India and Australia having taken him to 18 defeats and 15 wins overall, the revival of the one-day side during this time meant his job was not considered in any danger given recent public support from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Bayliss was hired to forge a World Cup-winning team but believes it is wrong to pigeonhole him as a white-ball coach. It is, he said, more the case that English cricket is throwing up better short-form batsmen right now and when considering the competition for 50-over places, compared with a three-year revolving door of Test failures, it is a legitimate point.
Despite finishing in 2019 and his assistant, Paul Farbrace, also understood to be weighing up his own future beyond this point, Bayliss said he will work to furnish Joe Root, the Test captain, with a side for the next Ashes tour and blood younger players – especially fast bowlers – even if results at home take a hit in the short term.
“If in four years’ time the away Ashes series is our holy grail, then you are better off making changes well in advance and giving some of those guys time to bed themselves in,” said Bayliss, whose Australian counterpart, Darren Lehmann, will stand down at the same time.
When the squad for March’s tour of New Zealand is announced on Wednesday, following a 24-hour delay caused by Root’s recent illness, it will likely show that this process is not going to happen overnight. Gary Ballance is expected to make way, possibly for Lancashire’s uncapped Liam Livingstone, but there has been little indication of any major overhaul.
Ballance would be a curious fall guy given he did not feature against Australia in the Tests but Bayliss was keen that Mark Stoneman and James Vince be given at least two more Tests in the hope they learned from the series against Australia’s high-quality attack, despite only two half-centuries apiece.
For Vince, who in his second spell in the side continued a propensity to edge behind, the diagnosis is an issue between the ears. “He looked as comfortable as anyone in the runs he scored but he just makes a mistake and gets out. It’s probably a little bit technical but a lot of it is the mental side, knowing which balls to leave and when to attack,” said Bayliss.
Looking at the wider picture, Bayliss questioned whether it was time the Kookaburra ball was used in the County Championship, much like Australia deploying the Dukes ball for the second half of their Sheffield Shield season in advance of 2019, and suggested more overseas experience can be secured for the best young English talent.
The Australian, meanwhile, confirmed that Root went against his advice by opting to play in the Twenty20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand in February, despite concerns over the Test captain’s workload coming to the fore when his personally gruelling Ashes tour ended with a bout of viral gastroenteritis in Sydney. The 27-year-old is keen not to miss out on playing in the shortest format, in part due to its greater relevance to 50-over cricket but also with a view to possibly putting his name forward for the Indian Premier League auction later this month.
Australia on Tuesday confirmed that Ricky Ponting will act as assistant coach to Lehmann during the Twenty20 tri-series.