Trevor Bayliss sees “something special” in his victorious England side

Published: Sunday 17th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Trevor Bayliss believes his England side are on the way to becoming “something special” following their series victory in South Africa.

The Australian is just six months into his tenure as head coach, but has already overseen two memorable triumphs – regaining the Ashes in his first attempt last summer and now overturning the Proteas on their home patch with a game to spare.

The England dressing room is led by a vastly-experienced trio of Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Johannesburg match-winner Stuart Broad, not to mention prize batsman Joe Root, but there are plenty of others closer to the start of their international journey.

The other seven players on duty at the Wanderers have each played less than 30 Tests and, if managed well, could reasonably be expected to continue growing as performers.

Bayliss is avowedly not a man to focus on the minutiae of the International Cricket Council’s rankings, he clearly believes the team’s current number five spot is a modest reflection of the talent at his disposal.

“It’s hard to look into the future but you look at some of those players…the potential is there,” he said.

“But potential never won anything. You have got to go out and do the hard work and not take everything for granted.

“You have got to go out and keep having that attitude on the field, keep striving to get better.

“We prepare to go out and play good cricket. If we play good cricket we’ll be in with a chance of winning. If we win a few Test matches there’ll be a chance of going up the rankings and becoming the best team in the world.

“The future of this team could turn into something special.”

Bayliss seems well-suited to the task of enabling the team’s progress.

He runs a calmer ship than his immediate predecessors, has empowered Cook as a leader and helped bring career-best performances from the likes of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow.

But he also has the ability to deliver a rocket when it is required, with Cook crediting him for rallying the team with a “kick up the a***” at lunch on day three in Johannesburg.

It had the desired effect, with Broad claiming a phenomenal six for 17 and an intense fielding display settling the match, and series, in England’s favour.

“I wouldn’t class it as a kick up the backside. It was more of a reminder of what we needed to do to help the bowlers win the game,” he explained.

“Before lunch and even in the first innings I didn’t think their attitude was quite right in the field.

“It’s always a decent attitude but I think to field well and pick up those half-chances the energy and the attitude has got to be more full on.

“So it was just a bit of a reminder that if we want to win this Test match, now is the time to hunt in a pack, get in the batters’ faces and try to make them feel ‘where’s our next run coming from?’. Help the bowlers, put the pressure on that way.

“Hopefully it is a lesson learned and hopefully as time goes by they won’t need a gentle reminder.”

While Broad woke up to the news that his best overseas bowling performance had made him the new number one bowler in the world – the first Englishman to do so since Steve Harmison in 2004, and an honour that has eluded James Anderson – fellow seamer Steven Finn had a worse morning.

He was still experiencing soreness in his left-side, which began on day two, and was sent to hospital for scans.

Bayliss was pessimistic about his prospects of featuring in the fourth Test at Centurion, and even suggested Finn could withdraw from the forthcoming limited-overs matches.

“Steven is getting scans but to be honest I doubt very much whether he’ll be available for the next Test,” he said.

“We’ll have to wait and see how bad it is and make a decision on the one-day and Twenty20 series.

“But at this stage it looks like we will have to make a replacement heading into the last Test.

“That’s unfortunate because I thought he was probably our most dangerous bowler in the first two Tests.”

Published: Sunday 17th January 2016 by The News Editor

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