• Head coach confident team are prepared well to win both
• On West Indies series: ‘It’s not easy playing away from home’
Trevor Bayliss is confident he has readied England’s cricketers for the pressures of their World Cup and Ashes year, as the head coach enters the final stretch of his tenure in the relative calm of the Caribbean.
The three-match Test series against West Indies that gets under way at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday sees Joe Root’s side begin favourites, a status expected to be bestowed on them come the summer’s dual campaigns at home.
Bayliss, who will not renew his contract when it expires in September, has been consistent in fostering a relaxed environment throughout his near five-year spell in charge and now expects this to reap dividends come the climax.
“It probably wouldn’t get any bigger, especially in six months and at home,” replied Bayliss, when asked to assess the magnitude of the year ahead. “That brings pressure with it in itself and one that we have been working towards, playing under pressure.
“When we get to the big stage it is out of our [the coaching staff] hands. It’s down to the guys to perform on the day. I don’t think we could have done too much more.
“I want to do as well as anyone but after the Ashes finish I’ll be forgotten about and the pressure will be on the next guy. The expectation you have yourself, that’s the pressure – because our expectation is to play good cricket and have a good chance of winning.”
Bayliss met Ashley Giles, the new director of England cricket, at the airport on the eve of the current tour, where he was asked for his take on whether one or two head coaches, split by way of form, should succeed him.
The 56-year-old has previously advocated a separate Twenty20 coach but told Giles he believes one individual can run all three sides provided they have a team of homegrown assistants – much like his No 2, Paul Farbrace – who can step up for individual tours.
Bayliss may have been hired back in 2015 on the strength of his white-ball CV but Test cricket – the format for which his methods have drawn most scrutiny – is where he draws most satisfaction. To that end, neither the World Cup or Ashes matter more.
He said: “I’m not sure [winning the World Cup is priority]. There’s nothing like beating Australia in the Ashes, like we did at home in 2015. And having lost in Australia 12 months ago, it’s hard to pick between them. Hopefully we walk away with both trophies.”
On the looming challenge of the West Indies he added: “A 1-0 win would do us. We’d like to win the series but we set out to win every Test we play. We know that’s not always possible and the West Indies have actually had some good performances over the last 12-18 months and they beat us at [Headingley] 18 months ago.
“It’s not easy playing away from home as we’ve seen over a number of years from every country’s point of view. So we’re certainly not taking them lightly.”
Source : theguardian