Trevor Bayliss arrived in 2015 with clear objectives to transform England’s white ball game and prepare them for their own World Cup four years later. Looking back now you would have to say he has been a resounding success in that department with the added bonus of doing it in the most dramatic of ways.
The England one day team is now one which is respected and feared all over the cricketing world as opposition teams know England currently possess the best players. He has managed to change the culture of the team and turn them into a complete winning machine that should be highly competitive at future tournaments. Hopefully in years to come we will be able to pin point the arrival of Bayliss with when the England team started to win an array of trophies.
In terms of winning a World Cup at the end of a four year cycle England ticked every box along the way. Compare it with the success of England’s rugby team in 2003 and the failures of the men’s football which have similar cycles. Woodward’s rugby side was littered with the best players in those positions across the rugby world and he managed to get them to peak in time for the World Cup.
With the cricket team Roy, Bairstow, Root, Buttler, Stokes, Rashid, Woakes and Archer are all contenders for a world eleven. Bayliss allowed them to play their most exciting and vibrant cricket that has enabled them to become the world’s most valuable players. In addition whenever there has been a setback England have tended to learn from it with most noticeably being the semi final against Pakistan two years earlier in Cardiff. By continuing to learn and grow as a team and in some cases change the way they play England peaked in time for the World Cup rather than say twelve months earlier.
So one half of Bayliss’s remit he passed with flying colours and that should never be forgotten however in the test arena things are slightly different. Not all the issues around the test team are Bayliss’s fault however some of the stats around his tenure aren’t good. For example Headingley was the fourth time they had lost all ten wickets in one session in around 18 months. His away record will always be blighted by two heavy defeats to two of the other big teams in India and Australia and then not to mention the hugely disappointing defeat in the Caribbean at the start of the year.
Teams no matter how strongly the focus on test match cricket will always suffer heavy defeats in these countries though. History will probably determine Bayliss to be a poor test match coach but that is probably unfair considering his record in England, victories in South Africa and Sri Lanka. History should judge his time in the format as a frustrating one where quality players should have performed so much better. The Headingley test match perfectly sums this up where England put in a horror second day, won the other three days and produced a scintillating conclusion.
It almost appeared that the closer we got to the World Cup the further away the focus of test match cricket got. Bayliss in his final week as coach commented on what he thought should change in the current system with the likes of fewer teams and better pitches being spoken of. (Changes that I happen to agree with myself, but that’s for another time).
The general consensus which I go along with is that Bayliss slots into third in the list of England’s coaches with only Flower and Duncan Fletcher above him. The better debate maybe not where Bayliss goes but who is number one out of those two but again that’s for another time. The seismic changes that Bayliss brought to the one day set up should never be forgotten and may well be always unchallenged.