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Who is Chris Silverwood?

Yas Rana by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 4 minute read

 A decade after his first coaching gig in Zimbabwe, Chris Silverwood finds himself as the new England men’s head coach.

Chris Silverwood, a relatively young coach at 44 and a former England Test cricketer in his own right, takes the job following a two-year spell as England’s fast bowling coach. This is his career so far:

Playing career: 1993-2009

A brisk seam bowler from Yorkshire, Silverwood represented his native county for over a decade and helped them win a first County Championship title in 33 years in 2001. He played six Tests for England over a six-year period and never played in a home Test. He retired from playing aged 34 in 2009 with 577 first-class wickets under his belt.

Mashonaland Eagles (player-coach): 2009-10

Following the revamp of Zimbabwean domestic cricket in 2009 that saw Zimbabwe Cricket introduce a new set of first-class teams, Silverwood was approached by former Zimbabwean international Anthony Ireland about whether he’d be interested in appearing in the competition as either a player or a coach. Despite his lack of experience as a coach, Silverwood was offered the role of player-coach at the Mashonaland Eagles.

He played two matches before deciding to focus on coaching. His side went onto win the inaugural Logan Cup.

Essex (bowling coach): 2010-2015

During his stint in Zimbabwe, Silverwood applied for the vacant fast-bowling coach position at Essex following Graeme Welch’s departure from the club. With Paul Grayson as head coach, Essex were relegated from Division One of the County Championship in Silverwood’s first year at the club and spent the following five seasons in Division Two. Three white-ball semi-final appearances (two in 2010 and one in 2013) were as good as things got for Essex during Silverwood’s six-year stint as fast-bowling coach.

Essex (head coach): 2016-2017

After working with the England Lions over the 2015-16 winter, Silverwood was elevated to the role of permanent head coach at Chelmsford. He had previously fulfilled the role on an interim basis at the end of the 2015 season. He saw off an impressive list of names – one that included Mickey Arthur, Paul Nixon, Stuart Law and Andy Moles – to seal the job. Silverwood’s time as head coach could hardly have gone better in first-class cricket.

In his first season, Essex secured promotion to Division One for the first time since 2010, while in the following year they romped home to win their first County Championship title since 1992, winning five more games than second-placed Lancashire. His time at Essex saw the emergence of a number of promising young players, including the likes of Dan Lawrence, Jamie Porter and Sam Cook.

England (fast-bowling coach): 2018-2019

After working with England’s ODI side at the back end of 2017, Silverwood replaced Ottis Gibson in the role of fast-bowling coach at the end of the 2017-18 Ashes. His time as coach coincided with Stuart Broad’s most fruitful season with the ball (statistically speaking) since 2011 while Craig Overton was the only one of nine pace bowlers to have a bowling average of over 30 during Silverwood’s spell as fast-bowling coach.

England (head coach): 2019-

Chris Silverwood succeeded Trevor Bayliss, pipping former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten to the gig in the process. While England won the 2019 World Cup under Bayliss, their Test form, and in particular their batting, was less consistent. During Bayliss’ tenure, England had only the fifth-best win/loss ratio of countries to play more than five games – improving the fortunes of the Test side will be Silverwood’s primary objective. He also has next year’s T20 World Cup to plan for as England hope to go one better than their 2016 effort, where they lost in the last over to West Indies.


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