Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - England will be learning from India's game plans in Australia: Silverwood. There is a strong belief we can do something very special: England coach
There is a strong belief we can do something very special: England coach
Chris Silverwood says his England team will try and learn lessons from India's series win in Australia last winter as they aim to reclaim the Ashes for the first time since 2015. Silverwood was speaking after naming the 17-man squad for the series down under which begins in Brisbane on December 8.
England have played eight Tests against India this year and have seen up close the factors that make Virat Kohli's team such a formidable opponent. India won five of those matches, and dominated another at Trent Bridge, as England struggled to keep pace with arguably the best all-round Test team in world cricket. But despite a run of form that has seen England win just one of their last nine Tests, Silverwood believes his side have learnt a lot from India and can be competitive in Australia.
“We are battle hardened,” he said. “We've had some success along the way and we've proven we can compete with India. The important thing for me is our players have seen what the best in the world look like, they've played against it, they've felt what it is to have them push against us. We've also tasted success against them.
“Look at the Headingley Test when we came back very strong, which shows that we have got the skills within the ranks to take 20 wickets and push the best. So I see that as a real positive, a real galvaniser to the group, to better handle pressure now that they see it more and more, which is great.
“I think we'll be very competitive [in the Ashes]. We look at the fact Australia have been very strong over the years and we have to respect them. But we have over the last 6-7 months played the top two teams in the world, learned a hell of a lot. We look at India, how do they go about their business. They've shown a game plan that was successful over there and so we will be learning from them. There is a strong belief we can do something very special.”
Silverwood also said that his coaching staff would be reviewing how India's bowlers operated during their series in Australia. After espousing the virtues of a varied bowling attack throughout his time as head coach, Silverwood has only been able to pick one of the three 90mph plus bowlers he wanted to take – Jofra Archer and Olly Stone are both injured – while Sam Curran, the left-arm option, has also been ruled out.
It leaves England with a battery of right-arm fast-bowlers who all operate in the 80-85mph category. A similar bowling attack failed to make much impression during the 2017/18 series. “Every plan has got to be adaptable,” Silverwood said. “We have got one 90 mph bowler in there in Woody [Mark Wood]. But I think the one thing that we have got in the bowling attack is supreme accuracy. You look at the bowlers that are there and the one thing they are very good at is hitting the stumps and bringing the stumps into play time and time again.
“We watched how India performed in Australia [last winter] and we tried to learn lessons from them. What we will be doing is looking back over the plans India used and adapting any of those to what our bowling attack is. How do we get the best out of the bowling attack we have got rather than worrying about what we haven't got. There is nothing we can do about that so it's pointless. We will be using the skills we have in the best possible way and I do believe that we can make it work.”
England's bowlers will need runs to work with, another issue during Australia's 4-0 victory four years ago. The new look top three that finished the series against India this summer, Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan, have all been included, as have Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope who were all dropped during the home season. “There's no hiding from the fact that Australia have got a high-class bowling attack,” Silverwood said. “We know that, they have had for a while now, we've got to accept that and embrace it.
“We've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes for a long time now, about how are we going to combat that… There's no hiding from it, we have to score runs. At some point, we do need people to put their hands up. It's something that we'll work very hard on and give the guys all the confidence we can give them to make sure they perform out there. But I promise you this, they are working very hard to make sure that they are successful.”
One player who will not be in Australia as it stands is Ben Stokes. The 30 year-old has been left out as he continues to prioritise his mental well-being. Silverwood did not want to get drawn into whether Stokes might potentially join the tour at some point but warned that England's squad must not get distracted by thoughts of whether their talismanic all-rounder might return. “Ben is moving forward, the communications I have had with him he is definitely more upbeat,” Silverwood said.
“But what I will say is there will be no pressure from me for him to rush back. I've said when you're ready, you call me and we'll make a plan from there. So there's no pressure from me and no date on it. I'm not going to tell him when he comes back. I'll be led by him and my concern first and foremost is his wellbeing… When Ben is ready he'll give me a call and then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it and make plans as necessary.”