Chris Silverwood backed to become England cricket’s Gareth Southgate in new role
Chris Silverwood has been backed to become cricket's version of Gareth Southgate and Eddie Jones after being handed the keys to team selection.
In football and rugby there is no doubt who is responsible for those national teams with Southgate and Jones respectively picking and dropping players, formulating the strategy and taking overall control of the England environment.
It brings clarity to the dressing room with players no longer left to second guess who has made the call on their inclusion or demotion and Silverwood should be applauded for being willing to take responsibility for everyone to see.
In English cricket only Ray Illingworth was officially given overall charge for the team and selection in 1995, but it didn't work that well as he found it difficult to relate to the younger generation of players.
But despite that short-lived experiment former England bowler and selector Angus Fraser, who played under Illingworth in the mid 90s, reckons a similar setup could work this time thanks to the characters involved and the improved support all round.
“I don't think it is a bad idea at all,” said Fraser, currently Middlesex's director of cricket. “We've tried quite a few different methods, but you have to be prepared to adapt and evolve.
“The structure might have been like this previously with some coaches but it is the first time since Ray Illingworth that it has officially been like this.
“When he was coach Bumble (David Lloyd) saw himself as an Alex Ferguson figure, pulling the strings and that is now what Silverwood officially does now.
“Silverwood becomes the equivalent of Gareth Southgate or Eddie Jones. They manage their teams and their environments, they pick the players and they make the big decisions.
“Of course in cricket there is a far greater input from the captain and that won't change, but ultimately these guys are at the top and they make the decisions on how the team is run with the support of their technical coaches and the analysis available.”
Silverwood has a good relationship with both his captains and he is proving to be a decent man-manager of players too.
The fact is though that he remains in a results-based business and there is now less room for manoeuvre if things go wrong.
But after giving similar responsibility to Stuart Law at Middlesex, Fraser reckons this is a move that makes sense for England as long as they have the right people in the right jobs.
“It is probably about the personality of the people that makes the system you have work,” added Fraser. “Having one person in charge can work, but it needs to be the right one!
“There are a lot of positives to this, but my only fear is that you could easily get a good man put under lots of pressure quite quickly if results don't go accordingly as we've seen in football.”
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