England news July 1, 2015

Bayliss promises 'positive, aggressive' England

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'Wanted option to play two spinners' - Bayliss

Trevor Bayliss has promised England will "fight fire with fire" in the Investec Ashes this summer.

In his first press conference as England coach, Bayliss suggested the team had fallen behind the rest of the world over the last few years and promised a continuation of the spirit shown in recent games against New Zealand. He also confirmed that Moeen Ali remains England's first-choice spinner.

"You've got to get out and fight fire with fire," Bayliss said. "You have to be positive and aggressive. And individuals have to play their own natural game.

"If you are going to be successful against Australia it's certainly not going to be by taking a backward step, or allowing them to dictate terms.

"The way the game has been played over the last five or ten years, you could argue that maybe we haven't kept up to date maybe as some of the other teams. Whether you like it or not, the T20 format and the one-day format do have a bearing on the way the game is played at Test level. It's that philosophy of being positive and aggressive."

But such an approach will not necessarily lead to changes in the side. Bayliss hinted that the England batting order - with Gary Ballance at No. 3, followed by Ian Bell, Joe Root and Ben Stokes - will remain the same for the first Test in Cardiff, while the slip cordon which missed a few chances against New Zealand - Alastair Cook at first, Bell at second and Root at third - will also remain unchanged.

"At the moment the batting order is fairly stable," Bayliss said. "And we did a lot of slip catching in Spain. Certainly I think Cook, Bell and Root, from what I saw in practice, are our three best slippers."

He said that Moeen remains "at the moment" the first-choice spinner, with Adil Rashid to play, at Cardiff at least, only if England go into the game with two spinners. With the weather warm and the pitch slow, that is a possibility, though the fact that England have not won a home Test with a side containing two spinners since 1985 suggests it is still unlikely.

"Moeen, at the moment, is the No. 1 spinner," he said. "But if we want to play two spinners, we've got Adil there and ready to go."

Despite reports elsewhere, Bayliss insisted he had not turned down the head coach's job previously and, while he did not apply this time, had no qualms from a cricketing perspective in taking the job.

"I had some issues around family - my youngest is in her last year at school - but when you get that call from one of the three big teams around the world, I felt very honoured. It came out of the blue. I certainly didn't put my name forward.

"I was quite happy doing what I was doing. I had just re-signed with New South Wales and Kolkata Knight Riders had a three-year deal on the table as well. But when the opportunity came up with a team like England it was very difficult knock back.

"From a family point of view it wasn't necessarily perfect timing but, from a cricket point of view, I had no reservations."

Trevor Bayliss was unveiled as England's new coach at Lord's © Getty Images

Was there a slightly non-committal tone to questions about Cook's captaincy? It could probably be interpreted that way. As well as praising only "Eoin Morgan and Paul Farbrace" for getting things "heading in the right direction" in recent weeks, he answered a direct question about how he rated Cook's leadership with the reply: "I've not seen him up close or worked with him before."

But Cook, like the rest of the team, is going to be expected to embrace the new positivity that Bayliss wants to see as the hallmark of England cricket. "With this group of players," Bayliss said, "you will see a bright, attacking style of cricket being played."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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