There are several words that can be used to describe England’s recent Ashes campaign, one of them being humiliating. And, after a terrible showing in Australia, it was only a matter of time before the changes were rung, with the first casualty being Ashley Giles.
Giles, 48, has been axed as the managing director of the England’s men’s team with immediate effect, based on events in Australia where the hosts won the series at a canter. And, if you look at the bigger picture, over the course of 2021, England lost nine out of fifteen tests across the twelve months.
Giles’ predecessor Sir Andrew Strauss is the man who is now back in the hot seat and ready to ring further changes for the good of the men's game. After the ECB announced, Giles was making way, "standing down" as they described it, following Strauss' in-depth review, rumours circulated that Chris Silverwood and his assistant Graham Thorpe will meet the same fate.
And, who can blame the ECB and Strauss for feeling this is the way forward? The Ashes Tour saw England fall way below acceptable levels, with suggestions that a drinking culture needed to be stamped out, with ill-discipline a by-product. If Silverwood and Thorpe head through the exit, Alec Stewart could be an option in the interim.
Giles has gone first because many feel he is ultimately responsible for the events in Australia, and this can’t be overlooked. England lost 4-0, and the man he handed complete control to in Silverwood oversaw the disaster from a coaching perspective.
While Giles has argued that England have done well over the last couple of years in incredibly challenging circumstances, playing more cricket than any other country around the world. The ECB listened to what Strauss had to say and decided that they couldn't sit on their hands any longer after the Ashes pummelling.
Strauss, 44, made a significant impact as the managing director of England’s men’s cricket when in the role previously, but he was forced to step down following for personal reasons following the passing of his beloved wife, Ruth. Now, the former England skipper will reprise his role on an interim basis as he attempts to begin righting some wrongs made by those who have gone before him, namely Giles.
After deciding the fates of Silverwood and his assistant Thorpe, attention will turn to the three-Test tour set to take place in the Caribbean in February. The England men’s team will fly to Antigua on the 24th, and it will be up to Strauss to decide how the squad will be picked. It’s unlikely Silverwood will still be around, so Strauss, alongside someone such as Stewart, or even Andy Flower, a man who has coached England before, could team-up. It will be the end of a disappointing era, but hopefully the beginning of a happier one.