Ashley Giles, England’s new director cricket, has praised his predecessor Andrew Strauss for helping England improve their white-ball fortunes, giving them their “best opportunity for a long time” in winning the 50-over World Cup this year.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Giles said: “I believe we can win the World Cup and the Ashes. This year creates probably the best opportunity for a long time.
“The welfare and the health of the players, the fitness of the players is really important, we want to keep our best players on the park.”https://t.co/rBoGCaUl8I
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 9, 2019
“I think with World Cups we found ourselves, in the past, suddenly running into a bit of a meltdown or change – that’s not the case this time around.”
Giles, who coached England’s ODI side between 2012 and 2014, added that Strauss’ appointment in 2015 led to an improvement in England’s white-ball focus, one which has seen them rise up to No.1 in the ODI rankings, as well as reach the final of 2016 World T20. Strauss, a former England teammate of Giles, resigned from the role in October last year to help with his late wife’s cancer treatment.
“I think the focus on white-ball cricket has been a real step change in what we do,” said Giles. “I was involved from a coaching perspective in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and white ball played second fiddle to Test cricket.
“Andrew addressed that balance and the results are pretty clear. I know it must have been incredibly difficult to give up the role on the eve of a World Cup he has worked so hard towards.”
When speaking to Sky Sports News, Giles also discussed the possibility of Jofra Archer, the Sussex seamer, gaining international recognition. With the ECB announcing changes to their eligibility criteria last year, the former West Indies U19 bowler will be available to represent England in the World Cup, which begins in May.
“I have seen him on the county circuit and watched him in the Big Bash at length,” said Giles. “He bowls at 90mph, is a good athlete, has good one-day skills.”
“He has some good stuff going for him and it’s exciting for him and England cricket. But there are no guarantees to be picked in that World Cup squad.
“There is a lot of competition and a lot of guys who have played a big part in getting us to this point.”