challenges are coming thick and fast for England’s new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles – but that is the way he likes it.
Giles, appointed less than two months ago to dovetail in the shorter formats alongside Test coach Andy Flower, completed a tough inaugural assignment in India last week and must now embark on stage two of England’s new era by forging a partnership with returning Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad.
After three matches against New Zealand in the shortest format, starting next week, Giles’s tourists have three one-day internationals against the hosts.
The former Ashes-winning slow left-armer will then have a three-month break to consider his hectic learning curve.
But in that time frame, planning and selection must be fine-tuned for the Champions Trophy – the mid-summer ‘mini World Cup’ event in which England have the chance to win a 50-over global tournament for the first time in their history, and on home turf.
The stakes are almost instantly uncomfortably high for Giles with the possible reward of a world final on his home ground at Edgbaston in late June if he and his new charges can get everything right at the first time of asking.
It is just as well then that, after a 3-2 ODI defeat in India, which compares favourably with England’s previous 50-over hammerings there, Giles believes he has already learned plenty.
“I suppose I feel a little more comfortable,” he said, offered a moment to reflect on events in India before preparation begins in earnest for Monday’s first Twenty20 warm-up against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei.
“It was obviously very new going in. I knew most of the guys through being a selector, and even playing with some of them –but being head coach is different, and India is a very different experience.”
Seam bowler Steven Finn and off-spinner James Tredwell were England’s ‘winners’ with the ball in Giles’s first series – in the absence of regulars James Anderson, Broad and Graeme Swann.
Broad is hoping to prove himself fully recovered from the heel injury which interrupted his part in the successful Test tour of India before Christmas, and Anderson and Swann will be back for the ODI series here. For Giles, the first task is to ensure he and Broad foster a mutual understanding.