ENGLAND’S new Australian coach Trevor Bayliss is still getting his head round the prospect of taking on his native country again – but admits it was an opportunity he simply could not refuse.
Bayliss, set to arrive in England next month in time for the start of the Ashes in July, will renew a successful partnership with assistant coach and current caretaker Paul Farbrace after their time together in charge of Sri Lanka.
England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss praised 52-year-old Bayliss’ “outstanding record as a coach” and described his “expertise in the shorter forms of the game” as “vital” – with a Champions Trophy and then World Cup set to be played in England in the next four years.
It was in the course of his discussions with Strauss, before Bayliss’ appointment was confirmed by the ECB yesterday, that he realised this was a chance he simply had to take.
His allegiance to his current role as New South Wales coach meant it was no easy decision but, ultimately, an inevitable one to accept the position which became available after England sacked Peter Moores this month.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy decision… [but] talking to Andrew Strauss, it got to a point where it was something I couldn’t refuse,” Bayliss told ecb.co.uk. “It’s obviously one of the big jobs in the cricket world. To be asked to go on the shortlist was good enough – to be successful and get it is an unbelievable feeling, a huge opportunity and one I’m looking forward to very much. The opportunity to go and work with an international team with the history of England – it’s a bit hard to comprehend, to be honest.”
Bayliss previously coached against Australia for Sri Lanka, so is confident he can rationalise his emotions.
“We [Sri Lanka] had some success against them – winning a one-day series in Australia, and beating them in the World Twenty20 in 2009,” he said. “The way I explained it then is that in Australia your toughest battles are against your brothers and best mates in the backyard.” Bayliss will bring some inside knowledge with him too, against Test opponents containing nine players he has coached at state level.
“I do know quite a number of the Australia team very well from New South Wales,” he said.
“I expect them to come out and play some tough, hard cricket – and they wouldn’t expect anything different from a team I’m coaching either. But at the end of all that there is respect between the two teams.”
There is plenty of respect too of course from Strauss, for Bayliss. He said: “Trevor has an outstanding record as coach, has global experience and is very highly regarded in the game.
“He has proved himself in both domestic and international cricket, has a strong reputation for man-management and has shown how to build winning teams in all three formats.”
Farbrace, who oversaw England’s first-Test win over New Zealand at Lord’s on Monday, will stay in charge for this week’s second and final match of that series and the following limited-overs fixtures before becoming Bayliss’ assistant. Bayliss’ first assignment begins against his native country in the Ashes opener in Cardiff on 8 July.
1962: Born 21 December in Goulburn, New South Wales
1985-1993: Played 58 first-class matches for New South Wales
2004: Succeeded Steve Rixon as coach of NSW
2005: Won Sheffield Shield in first season in charge
2009: Guided Sir Lanka to the World Twenty20 final
2011: Led Sri Lanka to the final of the World Cup
2012 & 2014: Won the IPL title with Kolkata Knight Riders
2012: Won the Australian Big Bash and Champions League with Sydney Sixers
2014: Won Sheffield Shield during second stint at NSW