The Ashes 2021-22 – Gary Kirsten declares interest in becoming England’s Test coach


Kirsten was beaten to the role by the under-fire Chris Silverwood in 2019

Gary Kirsten has declared his interest in becoming head coach of England’s Test team, with Chris Silverwood likely to pay for their Ashes debacle with his job.

Kirsten, the former South Africa and India coach, has applied for the role twice previously, in 2015 and 2019. He has not coached an international team since 2013, citing family commitments, but has held roles with various T20 teams including Royal Challengers Bangalore, Hobart Hurricanes and Durban Heat.

He was the frontrunner to succeed Trevor Bayliss in 2019 but was beaten to the role by Silverwood after underwhelming at interview. He later revealed that he had believed he was attending a “token interview” and that the ECB had already decided to offer him the job.

Kirsten is already on the ECB’s payroll in his role as Welsh Fire’s head coach in the men’s Hundred, and said on Thursday that he would be keen to take over as England’s coach on the proviso that the roles were split between red- and white-ball formats.

“Listen, it [the England job] is always a consideration because it’s a tremendous honour,” Kirsten told the i newspaper. “I’ve walked this journey twice now and I’ve always made it clear that I would never commit to doing all formats. And when international cricket boards get their head around the fact that they need to split coaching roles, then it becomes a consideration.

“Working with a Test side, or working with an ODI side is great. Listen, the England ODI side is set-up, you’re the best ODI side in the world at the moment. It’s a project that has been well-thought-out. You’ve got consistency in the players that have been picked.

“Your Test side has battled for a while but it would be a really lovely project to get that going. I think it’s a great project for someone to come in and take that Test side on. There’s a lot that needs to be put in place to build this Test team out.”

Two years ago, Ashley Giles, the ECB’s managing director of men’s cricket, opted to appoint a single head coach across formats rather than splitting the role in order to ensure “consistency of communication”, with his own experiences as one-day head coach in 2012-14 playing a part in his decision.

But Silverwood has regularly been given leave during limited-overs series due to England’s packed schedule, with assistant coaches Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe filling in for him, and the ECB are certain to consider whether it is reasonable to expect one individual to have responsibility for both set-ups.

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