Ashes 2015: Calmness of Trevor Bayliss is key to England's revival, says his assistant Paul Farbrace

New Australian head coach has struck up a good relationship with captain Alastair Cook

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook might have only scored 32 of England’s 719 runs at Sophia Gardens but he still formed half of one of England’s most important partnerships in their victory in the first Ashes Test, at least as far as assistant coach Paul Farbrace is concerned.

The other half is Trevor Bayliss, England’s Australian head coach who only took up his position in May, and who is setting in motion a rapid turnaround.

“Neither of them has a big ego,” says Farbrace. “Neither thinks it’s all about them. They’re both down-to-earth people, and the two of them have started really well together. What Trevor did really well was that he fitted into what we’d been doing, as opposed to everyone else having to try to fit around him, or him coming in and rewriting everything, starting everything from scratch. He isn’t that sort of a bloke. He’ll do his work quietly.

“What Trevor made very clear, the first thing he said, is that Cookie is the leader of the team, and everybody else is there to support him. I think that’s something that will do Cookie a lot of good.”

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Paul Farbrace worked under Trevor Bayliss when the pair were coaching Sri Lanka (Getty)

Above all else Bayliss has brought a sense of calmness to the setup. “He wasn’t jumping around on Saturday night all excited, shouting from the roof tops. He reminded the players that they’d done very well, but that there was a game to be played in a few days’ time and the Aussies will come back very hard at us.

“He keeps a very even level, and if he can maintain that over the next few years it will be a big influence on the England team. He’s got a very good cricket mind, very shrewd, but his calmness is probably the most important thing. You would never know, looking at him, what the score was. I think you need to have that – because as well as this Test match that’s gone, we know there are going to be tough times during this series, over the next four years that Trev’s in charge.”

It is this influence, Farbrace thinks, that has allowed Cook to convey to his players it is not all about scrapping and determination, but the freedom to express  themselves with bat and ball.

“Quite a few of the lads who played in this Test match [at Cardiff] have had a bit of time away from the England team over the last few weeks – and I think it gave them a chance to freshen up, take stock of where they were at as individuals,” says Farbrace.

“We could see pretty much within the first day of practice at Cardiff that there were a lot of very motivated people who wanted to go and play with a bit more freedom. [Cook told the players] now was the time for us to actually show our skills, for the players to express themselves and enjoy playing for England and play with a bit of freedom.”

 

Come the Lord’s Test, Farbrace expects “Australia will come back tough, wanting to put things right, but it’s important we match that.

“Trev said at the start of the series it was important we match fire with fire ... we’ve probably got to do exactly the same, probably even more so, come Thursday.” One player Farbrace thinks will be critical to England’s success is Ian Bell. He and the Australian captain, Michael Clarke, are the only men remaining from the landmark 2005 series. Then he was a newcomer, now he must pass his experience on to the rest. “There is no question, if we’re going to have success through this series, Ian Bell is going to have to be a main player for us. He is a fantastic player, he has the experience of many Ashes series behind him, and he’s been very successful.

“His 60 in the second innings, that was a really important innings for him, and for the team. He didn’t just get himself to 60, he played brilliantly to do it.”

Bell, 33, might well have been vice-captain, but that role has been given to Joe Root.

“The thinking was that if, for someone like Rooty, you’re looking at the future, it was important he had some experience as vice-captain,” Farbrace says.

“But Belly will always give, regardless of whether he’s the vice-captain or not. Moeen Ali is a great example of someone that Bell took under his wing last year in the Indian series and spent a lot of time batting against in the nets, talking to him about his pace and variations. Scoring runs, taking catches, he is a massive player for us.”

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