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Ashes

Bayliss proud of change in white-ball attitude as he bids farewell

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Looking back on his four-year tenure, outgoing England head coach Trevor Bayliss picked the 2019 World Cup victory at Lord’s as the top highlight.

Bayliss, who took over at a tough time after England had crashed out in the first round of a dismal 2015 World Cup, was instrumental to England’s white-ball turnaround. Alongside the then ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss, Bayliss infused fresh life into England’s white-ball game with the introduction of a slew of limited-overs specialists.

The efforts bore fruit, as four years later, England were crowned world champions for the first time in 50-over cricket, after a dramatic final against New Zealand. “A change of attitude [was required],” Bayliss told Sky Sports, after his stint ended with a series-levelling Ashes victory at The Oval. “A change of the way we played the game.

“Looking back to the 2015 World Cup, England probably played the game in a little bit of an old-fashioned way, and [my role] was about bringing in players that were more attuned to playing the more modern style of game.

“But it was about attitude as well, about the knowledge that whoever won that World Cup was going to have to play some bold cricket, and we stuck to our guns through those four years, and through some tough periods as well.

“That allowed us to have some tough conversations with the boys, but they stuck to what they believed in, and in the way they played, even though over a period of time, they learned how to adapt to situations.”

Bayliss also played a key role in the resurrection of Ben Stokes, the man who won England the World Cup with a gutsy performance in the final, after his career had been derailed with his suspension in the aftermath of the Bristol nightclub incident.

Stokes has since emerged a transformed individual, as well as player, hitting the peak of his powers this English summer, best highlighted by his exploits at Lord’s on July 14, and his breathtaking late assault to stun Australia and win the Headingley Test for England by one wicket.

Bayliss, however, put Stokes’ success down to the player himself. “Look, I think Ben’s his own greatest success,” he said. “Coaches can only lead a team or players in in a certain direction but, in the end, it’s up to that player or those players to actually grab hold of that situation and be the ones to improve. And I think Ben, on and off the field, is growing unbelievably well.”

Another player to have grabbed eyeballs over the course of this golden English summer is the Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer, who in his rookie year in international cricket has delivered England a World Cup, and then shocked Australia with his pace in an impressive debut Test series, marked by two six-wicket hauls.

The flipside of that brilliance, however, has been an over-reliance on the 24-year-old, and Bayliss acknowledged that his workload is a touchy subject. “I think maybe in Test cricket, I know Joe [Root, the England captain] had relied on him to go with some longer spells this series, but I think looking forward, it might be a case that he comes in a little bit shorter spells,” Bayliss said. “Four or five overs. Come on, bowl a few thunderbolts, and have a rest and then come back on a little bit later.”

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