Ashes 2015: Trevor Bayliss pledges England will 'fight fire with fire' when they take on Australia this summer

New coach vows to be positive in series and springs shock by calling up Adil Rashid

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England’s new coach has issued his first rallying cry. It confirmed that the Ashes series which starts next week will be no place for the faint-hearted.

“To be successful against Australia it’s certainly not going to be by taking a backward step or allowing the Australians just to dictate terms,” said Trevor Bayliss, speaking publicly for the first time since being appointed a month ago.

“You’ve got to get out and fight fire with fire, be positive and aggressive, and the individuals have to play their own natural game.”

Since Bayliss is himself Australian and was until recently coach of New South Wales, it is certain that he knows all about the ways of his compatriots. After spending four days in Spain bonding with his new charges he seems convinced that they can regain the great prize and overturn the 5-0 loss suffered only 18 months ago.

England sprang a mild surprise by including Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire leg-spinner, in their squad of 13 for the opening match in Cardiff beginning on Wednesday.

Rashid, who was impressive with both bat and ball in the recent one-day series against New Zealand, was not in the party of 14 for the Spanish training camp.

 

But the hot spell which may continue persuaded Bayliss and his fellow selectors that two spinners should be an option in a five-man attack. Boldness only goes so far, however, and Bayliss endorsed Moeen Ali as the first-choice spinner.

“I’ve watched as much as I could of the series on TV back home and Adil bowled well,” said Bayliss. “The good thing is, he’s a leg-spinner who moves the ball both ways. If any spinner can get the batter to make a decision, he’s in with a chance of taking a wicket or the batter making a mistake.

“It’s more about giving us the option. With this weather around, nice warm weather, it gives us the option. It would be terrible to get there and decide to play two spinners and not to have him there. I’ve no qualms about playing two spinners at some stage.”

That, however, would be a considerable leap in a normal English summer, especially as both contenders are unproven international performers. But it demonstrated that Bayliss may be prepared to take risks.

The rest of the squad was predictable and England will keep the same batting order.

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Trevor Bayliss gives TV interviews at Lord's on Wednesday (Getty)

The whole nation is probably more intrigued for the moment about how Bayliss wants his team to play. Australia have made it clear that they intend to continue sledging while England’s approach seemed to change during the first part of the summer, heavily influenced by New Zealand.

Bayliss was careful to avoid saying that England would not sledge but equally adroit in circumventing any notion that he would be promoting it. He knows it will not be quiet out there.

“I’m all for playing the game in an aggressive manner,” he said. “It gets down to how individuals actually are able to put up with it. How they are able to react to it or whether they react to it. Some will and some won’t.

“What I’d like to see is actually some witty comments so we all get a bit of a laugh out of it. There won’t be any surprises when it comes to the English players about what happens out on the field. At different times there is going to be a reaction. What I want is for that reaction to be one of, ‘well, OK, you’ve said what you’ve said, I’ll be respectful’. Some guys might actually say some things back. As long as they can get on with the game, get to the next ball.”

The Spanish camp consisted of some middle practice, rounds of golf, evenings of fancy dress and quizzes, with Bayliss assuring the players that “I don’t bite”. It seems certain that England will continue to play in the audacious fashion they unveiled to an unsuspecting world at the start of the summer.

“The way the game has been played over the last five or 10 years you could argue that maybe we haven’t kept up to date as some of the other teams,” Bayliss said.

“Whether you like it or not the T20 format and the one-day format do have a bearing on the way the game is played at Test level. It’s that philosophy of being positive and aggressive.”

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