Trevor Bayliss: The man behind the scenes in England's Ashes victory
The role of a cricket coach is completely different when you compare it with sports like football or hockey. In football, the coach/manager is the team’s selector, strategist and the one who takes all the big decisions. In cricket the selectors select the squad of 15, the captain takes 11 men on to the field, sets the field, makes bowling changes and it is the skipper’s on-field decisions that decide the fate of the match.
This leaves the role of the cricket coach more down to that of a man-manger, someone who gets the team together, keeps the squad happy, has a great relationship with the captain and most importantly works quietly behind the scenes. There are examples that support this, none more than former Indian coaches Gary Kirsten and John Wright. Gary believed that once a player reaches international level “the coach shouldn't be coaching him but rather help him out on the mental aspect of the game.”
He believed that players like Rahul Dravid & Sachin Tendulkar did not need coaching after playing for more than a decade at the international level. Even the youngsters only need a vote of confidence and they would perform. The coach-captain relation goes a long way in the success or failure of a cricket team.
England coaching job is one of the toughest jobs in cricket
If there is a job as tough as coaching the Indian cricket team, it is probably coaching the English side simply because the administrators & the media over there are unforgiving. Just ask Kevin Pietersen that. Arguably one of their all-time greats, Pietersen has found himself on the sidelines for more than 18 months; which certainly means that Trevor Bayliss the current coach of the English team needs to be lauded.
The first Australian to coach the English team, Bayliss took charge of England for the first time in the 2015 Ashes series and it turned out to be a memorable one as England won the 5 match series (3-2) and regained the Ashes.
Bayliss Said he was happy with the way his young English side performed against the world champions, the favorites in many people’s eyes. He praised Alastair Cook’s proactive captaincy and believes that this side can become the No.1 ranked team in Tests. Their next challenge comes in UAE against Pakistan later this month after the conclusion of the ongoing ODI series against Australia
Despite losses in the first two matches, many former England players believe that Bayliss can strengthen the one-day side as well which traditionally has struggled in ICC tournaments. With England playing host in 2017 to the Champions trophy and the World Cup in 2019, Eoin Morgan the captain, Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Fabrace carry the burden of a nation looking to break their duck in the sport’s showpiece tournament.
A bio-data that boasts of success
Bayliss’ coaching record speaks for itself. Bayliss took over from Steve Rixon as New South Wales coach ahead of the 2004-05 season and experienced immediate success by guiding the side to the Sheffield Shield title and backed it up the following summer with the limited-overs trophy.
He was appointed as the Sri Lankan coach in August 2007 and he led them to No. 2 in the Test rankings. His best achievement in white ball cricket probably was guiding the team to the World Cup final in 2011 at Wankhede, where they finished as the runners up to India.
He then took over as coach of the Sydney Sixers and led them to success in the 2011-12 season of the Big Bash League, with Steve Smith as captain. Further T20 success followed as he guided Kolkata Knight Riders to success in the 5th season of the IPL with Gautam Gambhir in charge. He led New South Wales to another Sheffield Shield title in 2013-14 & KKR won a second IPL title under him in 2014.
Bayliss was interviewed by the ECB in 2014 while England were searching for a replacement for Andy Flower but he ended up coaching the Australian national side on a short-term deal in a T20 series against South Africa at the start of the 2014-15 international season. Australia won that series 2-1.
Bayliss: A calming influence
The perfect coach, according to many, though when we look at him, he doesn’t have much international playing experience. But he knows exactly how the team works and he stays behind the scenes and gets the job done.
The great Sri Lankan cricketer Mahela Jayawardene said: "He's fantastic with the guys, especially with the younger guys - he gives them a lot of confidence. He'll give a lot of tactical information and other stuff to the team, but he'll allow the team to play and that's the most important thing. He's not too bothered about what the media are saying; the important thing for him is the team and the results. He'll allow them to grow - that's what he did with our group in 2009, 2010 and 2011 when we got into the World Cup final.”
One of the youngsters who has benefitted from Bayliss’ stint with the Sri Lankan team is all-rounder Angelo Mathews who is now the team’s skipper in Tests and ODIs.
“He's a deep thinker on the game, one who allows his players to flourish under his guidance. He’s not very authoritative in the sense that he'll just sit back and enjoy what the team is doing, he'll allow the captain to take all the decisions and try and help him out any way he can,” Mathews said.
Alastair Cook also mentioned this in one of the post match interviews.
“He allowed the players to express themselves and play with no fear, almost like the Australian way. He got all the guys to enjoy the game and play positive cricket,” Cook said.