England consider Chris Silverwood as coach hunt nears conclusion

Chris Silverwood would appear to be back in contention for the role of England’s head coach, as the ECB continues to examine its options to replace Trevor Bayliss.

Silverwood has always been a strong candidate. As the team’s current bowling coach, he has developed an excellent relationship with the current crop of players and has a good history as head coach having led Essex to the Championship title in 2017. But he remains somewhat nervous around the media and was, at the start of this recruitment process, seen as the next-but-one choice for the role.

But with Alec Stewart, the preferred candidate for the role, having pulled out of the process in recent days, the ECB has been forced to look again.

Gary Kirsten, who enjoyed great success as head coach with India and South Africa, was thought to be the favourite, but is understood to have given an underwhelming presentation during his interview on Wednesday. There may also be some reservations about Kirsten’s initial ambivalence – he originally notified the ECB that he would only be interested if the role was split between red and white-ball coaches – and the fact his enthusiasm was revived only after he was sacked from his coaching position in the IPL.

The decision ultimately lies with the director of England men’s cricket, Ashley Giles. He has previously admitted he would prefer to appoint an English candidate and has referenced the importance of understanding team culture and reinforcing the sense of pride and unity inherent in representing the side.

Silverwood, as a former England player and an important figure in recent improvements in team culture, is therefore looking a stronger candidate than ever. Kirsten, having taken India to a World Cup and South Africa to No. 1 in the Test rankings, remains a persuasive candidate, however, leaving Giles with a tricky decision to make over the coming days. An appointment is anticipated within a week or so.

Stewart is understood to have informed the ECB last weekend that he was unable to pursue his interest in the position having decided the commitment to touring was incompatible with his family responsibilities. He remains as Surrey’s director of cricket.

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