What are the next challenges for England?
A wonderful summer for English cricket came to an end with victory over Australia at The Oval, squaring the Ashes 2-2 having already won their first 50-over World Cup.
But what is coming up for the national side?
Find a head coach
Trevor Bayliss has signed off after four years in charge of the team, leaving a vacancy at the heart of the backroom staff. Ashley Giles is the man responsible for hiring his replacement but deliberately delayed the process so as not to interfere with the main business of the summer. He has previously suggested an interim coach is possible but, with a clear month coming up, if the right man is free a permanent appointment could be made within weeks.
Settle Paul Collingwood’s position
As well as the main job, England recently advertised for an assistant coach to join Graham Thorpe and Chris Silverwood, both of whom would be keen to succeed Bayliss. Former one-day captain Paul Collingwood has been fulfilling that role since Paul Farbrace left for Warwickshire and is strong favourite to get the nod. Young, popular with the players and full of energy and ideas, he should be encouraged to embrace a leadership role.
Look at fresh faces in New Zealand
The first assignment of a packed winter takes in five Twenty20s and two Tests in New Zealand. The former series seems a perfect opportunity to run the rule over the likes of coming men Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson. The Test matches do not count towards the World Test Championship so senior men could be handed a well-earned rest. That means possible opportunities for uncapped batsmen Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley as well as Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes, who have been capped but sent back to county cricket.
Put points on the board
Tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka are sure to challenge England, particularly given the sharp difference in conditions. But they won their previous trips to both under Bayliss and will be desperate to do so again. It is the ECB’s stated ambition, not to mention that of captain Joe Root, to be involved in the first World Test final on home soil in 2021 and these represent big opportunities to climb the table.
Harness the Hundred and public positivity
Next summer sees the inaugural campaign for The Hundred, the ECB’s new domestic competition. It has received a mixed reception to say the least but the fact that it will be shown, at least in part, on the BBC provides a platform. The golden summer of 2019 has thrown cricket back into the national conversation in a way not seen since 2005 and a free-to-air broadcast partner could help the game grow again.
Target a World Cup double
The sight of Eoin Morgan lifting England’s first 50-over World Cup at Lord’s after an eye-poppingly dramatic final might never be beaten for sheer impact. But the white-ball expertise that powered the campaign will see the Three Lions among the favourites when the T20 World Cup gets under way in Australia next October. Morgan has yet to confirm he will stay on to lead the campaign but the lure of securing back-to-back titles must be a strong one.