Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton

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Michael Atherton believes head coach Chris Silverwood’s position is untenable following Joe Root-led England’s embarrassing Ashes 2021/22 series loss. Michael Atherton also feels giving Chris Silverwood the additional responsibility of a national selector was a blunder.

England’s Ashes campaign went from bad to worse in the first three Tests as they conceded the urn, with Australia already having an unassailable lead of 3-0. The tourists crashed to a humiliating 68 in the fourth innings of the must-win Test in Melbourne. England’s batting woes have put them on the brink of a clean sweep.

Michael Atherton Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Michael Atherton Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Michael Atherton: Chris Silverwood Has Proved To Be A Poor Appointment

Michael Atherton highlighted that England’s awful Ashes campaign leaves Chris Silverwood’s spot in danger.

Labeling the 46-year old as inexperienced for multiple roles, he wrote: “There is no way Silverwood will (or should) survive the Ashes, which should allow a reorganisation of the coaching and selecting responsibilities. Chris Silverwood, the head coach, has proved to be a poor appointment; untried and untested at this level. He was given an extraordinary amount of power, but is out of his depth.”

Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.
Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.

Michael Atherton continued: “Coaching national teams is not regarded as the plum job it once was, given the schedules, and many of the brightest and best prefer the franchise circuit. The best coaches often come with a teaching link somewhere in their background.”

The ECB announced Chris Silverwood’s promotion as chief selector in April 2021, replacing Ed Smith. England cricket’s managing director Ashley Giles declared the abolishment of the role to ensure consistent success. Ashley Giles had felt the new structure would make the lines of accountability clearer.

England’s fate was sealed as they were razed for just 68 on day three of the third Test at the MCG, losing the game by an innings and 14 runs and falling 3-0 down in the five-match series. The tourists’ latest abject display with the bat means they have passed 200 just twice in six innings in the series, while they have now lost nine and won just one of their previous 12 Test matches.

Michael Atherton: Ben Stokes A Viable Alternative For Joe Root As England Skipper

Michael Atherton also believes that while England’s domestic structure has been concerning, skipper Joe Root’s tactics on the field were questionable.

Picking Ben Stokes as the closest alternative, he added: “For all the discussion around systemic change, this could have been a much closer series had Root got things right on the field. These errors have made a good Australian side look much better than they are. The options are limited, of course. But the lack of alternatives is the worst reason for keeping someone in a job. Ben Stokes is a viable alternative, having done an excellent job as a stand-in briefly in the summer.”

Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter
Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter

Despite the discussions and debates on his captaincy, Joe Root intends to continue as skipper. As a batsman, the right-handed batter has amassed the most Test runs in 2021, accumulating 1708 runs at 61 with six tons.

On the other hand, Ben Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket in July to focus on his mental health while also recovering from a second operation on a broken finger, and was a late addition to England’s squad for the tour of Australia. An injured Ben Stokes missed the New Zealand and India Test series in England, the second half of IPL 2021 at UAE, 2021 T20I World Cup to prioritize his mental wellbeing over cricket.

Ben Stokes last played for England before Ashes 2021/22 in the ODI series against Pakistan in July 2021, when he returned to captain the team at short notice after Eoin Morgan and the rest of the initial squad were forced into isolation by a number of Covid-19 positives cases in England camp. England won the series 3-0 despite missing several regular white-ball specialists.