Nasser Hussain has described Chris Silverwood as a “safe pair of hands” following his appointment as the new head coach of the England men’s cricket team.
Silverwood has been promoted from his role as England bowling coach, taking over from Trevor Bayliss, who left the job after four years at the conclusion of the tied Ashes series this summer.
The 44-year-old previously led Essex to the County Championship title as head coach in 2017, and managing director of England’s Men’s Cricket Ashley Giles has described him as “the standout candidate” upon his appointment.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, former England captain Hussain said: “I think it’s a good appointment. He’s a very solid character, is Chris.
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“Wherever he has been as a coach, he has been successful. He went over to Essex when they were in Division Two, took them into Division One and then immediately won the County Championship with them – a side that had been under-performing. He showed his pedigree there.
“He has since moved on to England, and look at the work he has done with the England bowlers – look at someone like Stuart Broad, for example, and the renaissance he’s had.
“He’s someone who seems to ask the right questions, at the right time. He’s that type of coach – he’s not an in-your-face type; he’s very popular in the England dressing room, already in there with the players.
“He knows the time to say things and not say things. I’m talking bowlers here, but he puts little ideas into their minds and makes it seem like it was almost their idea; his man-management is absolutely first class.
“I’d say he’s a safe pair of hands. When one or two others ruled themselves out, I think Ashley Giles went for someone he knows and trusts.”
Silverwood played six Tests and seven one-day internationals for England between 1996 and 2002, some of those under Hussain’s captaincy.
Hussain describes the Yorkshireman as a “very likeable lad”, a quality that he has taken into his coaching, but believes the responsibility of being a head coach will require him to upset a few people from time to time.
“It will be slightly different for him,” added Hussain. “When you’re bowling coach, you have to be friends – especially with bowlers, who love someone to put an arm around them.
“Silverwood would definitely have been a ‘softly, softly’ sort, and there’s a massive difference between being a friendly bowling coach and being the main man – picking and choosing the times when you need to get hard and tough with your group of players, especially in the Test arena where England have been under-performing.
“That will be a challenge for him. There is no such thing as a popular coach or a popular captain. You’re there to make tough decisions and be tough with your team.
“At the moment he is popular, but if he wants to do a good job, he’ll have to upset a few as well.
“I know this is not that important but, when I played with him, he was a very, very likeable, down to earth, simple lad, who realised that playing for England was an absolute dream.
“I’m very pleased for him. He has lived that dream as a player and he will now be pinching himself that he is the England coach.
Silverwood has said he is “thrilled” and “honoured” at his appointment, one which sees him become only the second Englishman after Peter Moores to coach the national team on a full-time basis since 1999.
Hussain, however, doesn’t believe it particularly matters that he is English, and that he will be judged on his results, just like every other coach before him.
“Just pick the best person,” said Hussain. “It doesn’t matter where they’re from, which country they’re from.
“If you look at any business – and it is like a business, the ECB – you pick the best people to employ from all around the world.
“I worked with one in Duncan Fletcher. After Fletcher, came Andy Flower – both from Zimbabwe, both absolutely outstanding coaches, possibly the best two coaches England have ever had.
“So, for me, it doesn’t really matter where Chris is from, it’s his standard of coaching. That’s more important.
“He will be judged by his results.”
Silverwood’s first task as head coach is England’s tour of New Zealand, which includes a five-match T20I series starting on November 1, and two Tests, beginning on November 21.
Although there is a World T20 tournament in Australia in just over a year’s time, Hussain believes Silverwood’s focus should be first on the Test team and, in particular, their poor form overseas.
“In white-ball cricket, we’re one-day World Cup champions, runners-up in the World T20 – with another on the horizon,” added Hussain. “He needs to address Test match cricket.
“Eoin Morgan virtually takes care of the white-ball side, especially now it looks like he is staying on as captain, at least for the short term. That can carry on, keep progressing, though obviously keep an eye on our white-ball cricket, as other sides will catch up very quickly if you don’t.
“But our Test cricket needs to improve, especially away from home – our record at home is still pretty good, we beat India 4-1 last year and drew the Ashes 2-2. We need to win away from home, win the Ashes away from home.
“He also needs to bring through fast bowlers, look for long-term replacements for [James] Anderson and Broad, but the major thing is our top-order batting.
“Our top-order batting has not been great for a number of years now, technically not sound, so I’d like to see a technical coach.
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