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
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style