Nasser Hussain: Ashley Giles a 'top bloke' but made mistakes as director of England cricket

February 03, 2022

Nasser Hussain says "top bloke" Ashley Giles paid the price for mistakes off the field as he left his role as England's managing director of men's cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced Giles' departure on Wednesday night, weeks after they were thumped 4-0 by Australia in the Ashes series.

Sky Sports Cricket expert and former England captain Hussain believes Giles made an error by giving head coach Chris Silverwood - whose job remains under intense scrutiny - an all-encompassing role as selector and coach after sacking Ed Smith as national selector last year.

Hussain told Sky Sports News: "I think when you lose an Ashes series 4-0, and the way they have played in Test-match cricket over the last year or so, it was always going to be on the cards that there was going to be upheaval in the management.

"[It was] the manner of those Ashes defeats. England were were hardly in a session in the series and got a lot of key decisions wrong.

"I think mistakes were made off the field. Giles made mistakes. The mistake really for Ashley was to get rid of Smith as the national selector and just put everything on Silverwood, all selection decisions, everything.

"That meant there was no outside noise at all coming in just questioning the odd decision here and there. It just looked as if they needed somebody from the outside knocking on the door and questioning them.

"I have a lot of sympathy for both Silverwood and Giles, because in the last couple of years England have played more Test cricket than anybody else and more Test cricket away from home in a pandemic.

"Their players have been in bubbles and travelling the world and it's been incredibly difficult to get 11 players switched on and playing good quality cricket all around the world. Giles has tried to look after his players, there's been a lot of rest and rotation.

"England have not always played their best side in Test cricket so in trying to look after his players, results have gone in the wrong direction and I'm afraid as director of cricket or coach or captain you're only judged on results and in Test-match cricket England sit bottom of the World Test Championship table.

"I feel disappointed for Ashley because he is a top, top bloke, I can tell you that. I captained him, I worked with him.

"He was almost in tears in a BBC interview he did because he looked after his players. In Covid, Ashley was guilty of one thing and that's looking after his players, so I can't be too critical of a good bloke trying to look after his staff."

England reached the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup under Silverwood but have now lost 10 of their last 14 Test matches under him after being thumped in the Ashes finale in Hobart.

Surrey director of cricket and former England wicketkeeper-batter Alec Stewart has been touted as a potential interim head coach for March's Test tour of West Indies should Silverwood lose his job in the coming days.

On Stewart, Sky Sports Cricket's Rob Key said: "I think he'd be fantastic at that job, if he wanted it. Somebody who has all the experience, all the credibility, is a coach or director of cricket at the moment as well.

"We've got a lot of coaches that facilitate for players these days, and players love that. That's what they want, but sometimes that's not always the best thing.

"We see this whole thing going on in Australia where it doesn't look like the players have a great deal of time for Justin Langer, he's a bit of hard taskmaster, but they've come back from sandpaper-gate, they've won the T20 World Cup and they've won the Ashes easily.

"Australian cricket is on the rise. Langer might not be the most popular coach, but who cares if they're winning everything like they are at the moment?"

Key also thinks England will have split red and white-ball coaches going forward, something they previously trialled between 2012 and 2014 with Giles in charge of the limited-overs side and Andy Flower leading the Test team.

Key told Sky Sports News: "You can bet that at some stage in the future we'll split that coaching role rather than having one person in charge of it all."

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