England in good shape for Bayliss


Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Paul Farbrace will present Trevor Bayliss with an England team who have already passed a significant test set by the Australian ahead of this summer’s Ashes.

Bayliss’ key directive from afar, before his arrival this week, was that England prove they can play with natural flair and mettle.

After stand-in wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow produced a brilliant, maiden one-day international half-century to clinch the record-breaking Royal London Series against New Zealand, Farbrace had high praise for players who have followed Bayliss’ orders so successfully.

If they can add another win in Tuesday’s NatWest T20 at Old Trafford, caretaker coach Farbrace will be able to hand over a side with an unbeaten 2015 series record in all three formats.

The 3-2 ODI win, in a series which made history as the first to contain more than 3,000 runs in five matches, can be rated an especially proud achievement against opponents who took on Australia in the World Cup final only three months ago.

Bayliss, an ally of Farbrace’s from their days coaching Sri Lanka, is due to fly into England on Wednesday – and two days later leave with 14 of his new charges for a pre-Ashes training camp in Spain.

The intention is that the four-day trip south will ensure Bayliss becomes properly acquainted with those most likely to be named in the squad for the first Investec Test, starting in Cardiff on July 8.

But to Farbrace’s delight, Bayliss already knows – after Alastair Cook’s team drew a manic two-match Test series against New Zealand, and then Eoin Morgan’s 50-over specialists edged their contest – that England are currently staffed by his kind of players.

“It’s something Trevor was very keen on before we started – encouraging them to play the way they play for their counties,” said Farbrace.

“His term was: ‘It takes balls to do that, and it’s up to them to show they’ve got the balls to do it’.

“Crikey, they’ve certainly shown that in abundance.”

England appeared likely to fall at the final hurdle in their 12-day run-fest with New Zealand, when they slumped to 45 for five at Chester-le-Street on Saturday in pursuit of a Duckworth-Lewis target of 192 in 26 overs.

But Bairstow, called in as cover barely 24 hours earlier after Jos Buttler split the webbing on his left hand, had other ideas – sharing a stand of 80 with Sam Billings and finishing unbeaten on 83 as England won with an over and three wickets to spare.

“What an innings from Jonny,” said Farbrace.

“How well did he play? What a win.

“As much as I’m pretty positive most of the time, it did seem a long way away (after the early wickets).

“There were a few disappointed people who had got out.

“It was a quiet 10 minutes, and then a few boundaries and the lads started to believe again.

“Win the close games, you then start to believe.

“To get over the line, the confidence it gives everybody – which is something every player needs – (makes) you start to believe you can beat everybody.”

That will be a handy asset for the start of an Ashes campaign against opponents who trounced them 5-0 down under two winters ago.

England have, however, won the last three home series against Australia – and the intention is, after the get-together in Spain, they will arrive in Wales next month with an understanding of exactly how Bayliss operates.

Farbrace added: “The key thing is for Trevor to spend time with the players, rather than just turn up in Cardiff on the Saturday before the Ashes and shake a few hands.

“It’s four days for him to get his messages over to the lads, for them to feel comfortable around him – so that when we get to Cardiff it feels as normal as it can be.

“It makes Cardiff so much easier, and we can concentrate on the cricket then.”

Time may be short, but Farbrace has faith.

“It will be tough for him coming in,” he said.

“But he’s someone who will fit into what we’re doing, as opposed to coming in and rewriting everything from start to finish – he’s not that sort of a person.

“Let’s make no mistake, the Australia series will be an extremely tough one – but Trev’s coming in at a good time, (because) there is a feelgood factor.”

England believe they have won back this country’s floating cricket supporters, who had perhaps become disengaged.

“The public has got behind the team – their support all five games has been brilliant,” said Farbrace.

“The fact they stayed after the rain (at Chester-le-Street) and got behind the team, you could really feel the push from the crowd when the partnership got together.

“You could feel the crowd willing the lads to get over the line, and we’ve had that through all the games.

“Trevor will fit into to what’s going on and gradually make the changes he sees fit.

“With his knowledge and experience, he will make good changes at the right times.”

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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