England vs India Third Test preview: Overlooked Ashley Giles is not for gloating

Former England coach has only sympathy for the man overseeing the summer’s Test debacle though, he tells Stephen Brenkley, he expected more

It could have been Ashley Giles in charge of the mess England are in. On the other hand they might not have been in it. Who knows what might have happened had Giles been awarded the job of coach, for which he was favourite until Peter Moores came up on the rails?

Moores is finding the going harder than he might have expected in April, Giles has had time to become accustomed to being overlooked. There is no gloating from him, only sympathy for a fellow coach and enthusiast. Equally, there is no point in trying to put a gloss on affairs.

“The quick win thing would have been important for England after such a long winter,” Giles said on Friday.  “Although the one-dayers were always going to be tough, if it were me it would have been all about settling everyone down and getting some quick wins and getting us back on an even track. At the moment that has just not happened.

“There are still three Test matches left and I can still see England winning this series but they’re going to have to play much better, much more consistently and smarter. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me saying that after their performance on the last day at Lord’s. To fall for that trap with the short ball was really disappointing.

“It wasn’t the last roll of the dice by India but it’s probably the penultimate roll of the dice going for the short ball – let’s see if we can get a reaction and they did. You know what they’re trying to do, get out of the situation, move on. I was disappointed and surprised. It shows a lot of fuzziness going throughout the team.”

Giles is having a break from coaching after England decided he was not the man to take them forward and is soon to embark on a masters degree in sporting directorship in Manchester. But the England team are still in his thoughts and, though he tries hard not to think what might have been, England’s form this summer is hardly conducive to that.

Ashley Giles is having a break from coaching to take a masters degree in Manchester Ashley Giles is having a break from coaching to take a masters degree in Manchester (Getty Images)
“I think the nub of the thing is that they’re not as good as we think they are or we’d like them to be,” he said. “The expectation is high on them winning all the time and I don’t think we’re that team at the moment. Results are showing that.  And it’s not an overnight thing.

“Winning in India was fantastic but the series that followed against New Zealand was not good. We won the Ashes here but I don’t think England were at their best. Ian Bell pretty much pulled everyone through with the bat and we were up against an Australian side which at the time was completely upside down. It is a phase of rebuilding.”

The big question is does Giles think he could have done better? He will not be drawn on that but his view is that England had an opportunity in English conditions against sides who do not much like playing in them.

READ MORE: Cook may be tempted to plough a new furrow
Bad tempers cast cloud over series

“I didn’t expect absolutely smooth sailing,” he said. “But perhaps I wouldn’t have expected it to be this difficult. It was an opportunity to win a couple of Test series at least. Play on wickets you want to play on, get our best players back in, bully them into submission. It has not worked, unfortunately. But while you can talk about tactics and mindset and all sorts of other things, ultimately it’s the players. They have to do it on the field and think on the field.”

Maybe they have become too unaccustomed to thinking for themselves. But there is one player, of course, who is probably having to think too much. The spotlight is on him perpetually. Alastair Cook’s progress as opening batsman and captain is being charted in minute detail. The endgame is in sight but the management and Cook are giving him every chance to bat and plan his way out of it. It seems to be a case of nobody being willing to make the first move.

Giles, working as an analyst for ESPN Cricinfo’s Match Point, said: “Cooky will know soon. He has given a bit of an insight in saying that it wouldn’t be right to step down in the middle of a series. He is clearly feeling the pressure and he would do. And I feel for him because it’s a bloody tough environment when things aren’t going your way.

“I think he has to make a decision on if it’s impacting his own game to a degree where he can’t do it properly and then he really has to consider doing the job in the future. He is a solid bloke, a strong character, but his worth to the side as much as anything is his 25 hundreds. He is looking like he’s burning himself out. Obviously, he’s under a lot of pressure.”

In the end, Giles thinks that it is quite simple. England might not be much good, they might be in a rebuilding phase, but if Cook, with greater support from his senior players, was performing, it would not have come to this.

“I am sure Pete and the coaches are trying to promote this internal leadership thing where the players take more responsibility, which is really important. That starts at the top and works its way down.

“The bottom line is Cook isn’t playing very well. If he was scoring runs that would solve most of his problems. He would still get a poke about some of his captaincy but  if he was getting big scores you’re much more likely to win Test matches. Then down the line he can make a much more even decision on whether he wants to captain the side.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's most starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week