England news February 25, 2013

Giles vows to be more "ruthless" as coach


Ashley Giles has promised to be "ruthless" in his role as coach of England's limited-overs sides. Giles could reflect with some satisfaction on England's ODI series victory in New Zealand - their first such success in the country in more than two decades - but knows he has some tricky decisions to make ahead of the Champions Trophy in June.

Giles' main issue is how to accommodate the return of Kevin Pietersen - rested for the ODI series in New Zealand - into the Champions Trophy side. England's decision to rest players from ODI series - Pietersen in New Zealand and Jonathan Trott in India - allowed Joe Root an opportunity which he grasped impressively, leaving England wrestling with the issue of fitting six batsmen into five available spaces for the June event. While Alastair Cook is certain to play alongside a wicketkeeper and five bowlers, the remaining five batsmen - Pietersen, Trott, Root, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan - would appear to be competing for four places.

But if anyone feared sentiment may play a part in the decision making - two of those five, Bell and Trott, are former team-mates from his days with Warwickshire - Giles was quick to dispel such doubts.

"I have to be more ruthless as a coach," Giles said. "You are not being nasty, but you've got to make strong decisions. When you drop someone, you always look them in the eye. Sometimes it will fall to the captain, sometimes I might do it, but all you can do is to be honest. If your performance isn't good enough, I'm going to tell you. I don't expect you to like it, but it doesn't change the conviction behind the decision. Players are selected to perform and ultimately we have to pick the side that we think will win games.

"The most difficult decisions are when you leave players out and you never do that lightly. If you don't step in, and everyone else can see you should be doing it, you lose respect quite quickly.

"With the Champions Trophy being in English conditions we have the opportunity to do really well. I'll go away and look very closely at Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the other teams in our group. But we don't want to get too cute with the game. The formula with which we play is pretty simple but homework on the opposition, like bowling very straight to Ross Taylor, is important."

Giles also plans to speak to the coaches at many of the counties to ensure that their plans and those of England are in harmony. Most pertinently, he will speak to Somerset about their wicketkeeping plans. At present Jos Buttler, now first-choice with the gloves in ODI and T20 cricket, is denied the gloves at Taunton by Craig Kieswetter. Giles hopes to persuade the club to reverse that policy with a view to providing Buttler with more experience.

Somerset are likely to oblige. Not only do they have a record of accommodating England - they drafted Andrew Strauss into their team in 2011 when he required match practice ahead of the India series - they also have a strong relationship with Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, who was previously chairman of the club. The fact that they are keen to host ODI cricket may not be irrelevant, either.

"I will be speaking to Somerset about both players," Giles said. "Obviously we have a responsibility to Craig, who I'm sure wants to get back playing for England but Jos is keeping for us now.

"Craig wasn't left out of the squad, it was by mutual consent really. The opportunity had gone for him. With Jos taking the gloves and Jonny Bairstow being next in line it made sense on both sides for Craig to go home and get his game in order.

"I hope to speak to most of the directors of cricket at counties about the players involved this winter and how we think they can improve. I can't tell Somerset what to do, but it's pretty obvious that Jos needs to keep wicket now. It is a very different situation for Somerset, though, because they have a duty to help Craig get back into international cricket. I don't envy their position and Jos, Somerset and Craig will have to discuss it."

Somerset would be understandably reluctant to lose either Buttler or Kieswetter. Both were schooled locally and have long careers ahead of them in the game. But, in the long-term, it could be that one of them feel the need to leave for more opportunity elsewhere.

Nor is the issue just at Somerset. Ben Foakes, the England Lions keeper, also requires first team cricket if he is to progress, but is currently denied the gloves at Essex by the continuing excellence of James Foster. Giles may also reflect on the situation at Warwickshire, where Trott tends to open the batting in domestic limited-overs cricket and Bell comes in at No.3; a reversal of their England roles.

While Giles will now return to the UK, his work as England's limited-overs coach continues. Firstly he will stop off in Australia where England Lions are struggling against their Australian counterparts while, following a full series debrief with Cook, Giles will further the planning ahead of the Champions Trophy allowing Andy Flower to concentrate on England's Test plans.

"Cooky is an exceptional bloke," Giles said. "I hope we don't agree on everything because it would be dull but we're singing from a similar hymn sheet on most stuff.

"We had three hours when we talked about a number of things going forward. By the time he gets home a lot of time will have passed so it was important we knocked around ideas and I'll take them home to work on. It was a really good chat.

"Sometimes you do fall into one-day games on the back of a major Test series. It suddenly catches up with you and it's a case of 'let's get the white balls out and get on with it.' But now it's my job to make sure we have a very clean switch between forms. The idea is that I will be looking at opponents and venues for the Champions Trophy very closely now."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on February 28, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    Well said there by Plymouth's finest blogger.

  • John on February 28, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Obviously it would be great if Somerset could reach an agreement with both Craig,Jos and England.

    If not and Craig's not happy with it , I'd prefer them to stick with Craig , even if it hinders Jos's chances in the shorter formats. The way he's been playing recently I'd say he should be in the side as a batsman regardless of anything else and while England seek improvement in Jos's WK , I can only see him dropped if his batting performances fall away. Jonny didn't look overly convincing behind the stumps either. For me the best WK (who can bat a bit) in shorter formats is Foster but I see that as more a short term fix

  • John on February 26, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    The Buttler/Kieswetter case is difficult, because Somerset's needs are not necessarily the same as England's. Also, it's not as though Buttler is anywhere near playing for the test side, he's strictly a limited overs keeper and frankly not even a very good one. I think all concerned have to sit down and work out a course of action that will be as far as possible in everyone's best interest, If that means Kies or Buttler has to leave Somerset, so be it.

    The extra batsman is a good problem to have- at least we have 6 fighting for 5 spots, not the other way round as some teams, naming no names, are struggling with. With rotation, everyone has so far been accommodated, but for the Champions Trophy someone will miss out. However, maybe there will be an injury or one player will have lost form. No point in anticipating problems, just be prepared to face them should they arise.

    Giles has done well so far. If he'd had a full squad for the Indian ODIs, maybe he'd have done even better.

  • Deeksha on February 26, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    It's unfair to Somerset to be told which keeper to pick; I understand that playing for England is the ultimate priority but at the same time it's unfair to put the club and both players in such a position. Somerset has their responsibility toward grooming Jos but at the same time Craig Kieswetter needs to get back into form. I simply cannot see this as the end of the road for Kieswetter in either Somerset or England so have they sort this out sensibly and split the keepers' roles without Craig having to look elsewhere.

  • George on February 26, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    Jackiethepen: Re 'George Dobell seems a bit behind with his Warwickshire news. Trott has not opened for Warks in pro-40 for a while. He used to open with pinchhitter Carter.' Actually Trott has opened in every List A game (it's not called the Pro-40 any more, you know) he has played for Warwickshire since 2009 at least. Every one. Re: "Bell has never moved from No.3". Where did he bat in the CB40 final in 2010 then?

  • John on February 25, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    @bennybow on (February 25, 2013, 21:24 GMT), why is it that people keep saying things like that about Broad? Can you please describe the last incident that indicated that he needs to grow up any more than any other player?

  • Jackie on February 25, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    George Dobell seems a bit behind with his Warwickshire news. Trott has not opened for Warks in pro-40 for a while. He used to open with pinchhitter Carter. Bell has never moved from 3 for Warks. Trott tends to bat at 4 when available. Warwickshire will decide where Bell bats, not Giles. Flower never interfered. As for Giles being ruthless - did he say that in answer to a question about Bell and Trott being Warwickshire players? George Dobell writes the piece as if he did. But I'm pretty sure the comment was a general one about the squad. Let's not have any words put in anyone's minds shall we?

  • Simon on February 25, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Giles telling us who to pick as wickie!....clog up our roads in summer, drink our cider, and pick our team, you can trundle off back to Spain grockle! In all seriousness, Kies and Buttler are good keepers, but they are/were in the England side number 1 for their batting. A couple of seasons back kies opened the batting and was utterly awesome, hence he was picked for Eng. Now if Buttler had a dip in his batting form and Kies did what he can do, and Bairstow had a dip, there is no reason why England don't then turn back to Kies, they know he can keep - exactly how Buttler got in the side.To be honest I dont really care who keeps for Somerset, but I REFUSE to lose either of them because they are great bats and cidermen (kies for a few years). Personally, I'd like to see Kieswetter open in all formats, not as a pinch hitter, but as a proper opener, he has an amazing defence, fast hands, fearless, resolute, combative, can hit the ball out the park, and technically strong (Tresco's heir).

  • Ohhhh on February 25, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    Surely Kieswetter should get the gloves for the Championship. Buttler for the T20s. Then split it in the List A comps.

  • Rob on February 25, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    GSinge7- It is difficult to understand the content of your post, I am sure the WC has had at least one team from sub-continent since 92 as all test playing countries generally take part, I think there may actually be 4 in 2015 if Bangladesh manage to qualify. ps your expert advice is always appreciated and also your top predictions come in handy if I am planning a flutter.

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