England are preparing to name their new head coach as early as Monday, with former Yorkshire bowler Chris Silverwood expected to land the role.
Previous incumbent Trevor Bayliss departed when his four-year reign expired last month and confirmation of his replacement now seems imminent, with a formal announcement close.
Silverwood, fast bowling coach under Bayliss, was identified as the leading internal candidate several months ago but faced stiff external competition.
Ashley Giles, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s managing director, was thought to be keen on Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart before he withdrew on personal grounds and also gave strong consideration to the claims of former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten.
But it is understood the ECB have been consistently impressed by the approach and ideas of 44-year-old Silverwood, who won both divisions of the County Championship while in charge of Essex. Giles expressed a preference for a homegrown appointment but was willing to look further afield, with South African Graham Ford also assessed.
Silverwood, a former Yorskhire paceman who played six Tests and seven one-day internationals between 1996 and 2002, would become just the second Englishman to take charge of the national side since 1999.
Peter Moores did so on two separate occasions, both unsuccessful, while Giles performed a brief job-share with Zimbabwean Andy Flower in the role of limited-overs coach.
The temptation to go for a split coaching role again has been resisted this time, but England’s next head coach will not replicate the same exhausting schedule as Bayliss. Instead, a three-strong group of deputies would be empowered to take more responsibility, including the squad at times.
Graham Thorpe is set to continue as batting consultant, Paul Collingwood is almost certain to be reappointed after working with the team during the World Cup and Ashes and another bowling specialist would be required should Silverwood step up.
As for Kirsten, whose CV is arguably the most formidable of those who expressed interest, he is due to refocus on his role in charge of Welsh Fire in next year’s inaugural edition of The Hundred.