England suffered their sixth defeat in eight Tests with the nine-wicket loss to Pakistan at Lord’s. After the match, coach Trevor Bayliss admitted his frustration, particularly at the batting and field, when speaking to television then expanding on his thoughts in a subsequent interview with questions starting to mount over his position
The results and performances suggest England are getting worse
Yes, it’s deeply disappointing. In this match, especially from a batting point of view. We just keep making the same mistakes. It’s not as if we can’t do it because the batsmen have scored runs and scored runs on difficult wickets before. We’ve just got to be better and more consistent.
Joe Root said the team prepared well. Do you have a theory as to what went wrong?
Not really. From a coaching point of view, we keep hitting those points and working on those things in the nets. Which we are. And hopefully they start sinking in. Obviously it’s taking a little longer than you’d like. As I said, at different times, the guys have all batted in that fashion at some point. We’ve just got to be smart enough, I suppose, to bat in that fashion more often.
Is this defeat worse than any of the five over the winter? There’s some mitigation away, isn’t there?
Well, playing at Lord’s almost like playing away. We keep losing here. We haven’t won too many here in the last few years. Losing any Test is disappointing, but obviously losing at home – where our record has been pretty good over the last few years – is disappointing, that’s for sure. The test will come in the next one. We have shown in past that, when we haven’t played very well, that come the next game, we can pull finger out and play well. I’d be expecting they’d a little embarrassed about way played and the performance in the next one will be better.
Are you wary of making a change to selection?
I’d be surprised if we made a change for the next one with it being such a close Test. And, who are we going to bring in? You know, we’ve put the challenge out there at county level for guys to score runs and score plenty of runs. We’ve a couple of guys at the top of the order scoring some runs, so they’re getting close, but we always want guys to be scoring even more. Put it beyond doubt. Score three or four hundreds in a row. There will be opportunities. We want pressure on the guys in the team.
Is that a mixed message? You ask guys to score runs in county cricket and then pick a guy from the IPL. Isn’t that confusing?
Not really. Everyone knows Jos is a quality player. Yes, he’s got to prove it in red-ball cricket yet. What we want from him is performances like in his one-day cricket. And the message to the guys below is: averaging 40 is not good enough. We want guys averaging 50, 60 or 70 and not just making hundreds but big hundreds. That’s a sign that you’re going to be good enough to actually step it up at the next level. I can fully understand those thoughts about bringing in someone like Jos but I think he proved in this game that talent he has. I understand where those thoughts come from, don’t get me wrong, but we want to see some of those other guys scoring big runs and really putting pressure on. Not just averaging 40 and being the best of the rest.
Are you determined to continue to coach England in all three formats to September 2019?
Yes, certainly. I’ve committed to September 2019. I know what you’re getting at but, from a Test point of view, I don’t know how anything can be done different. Some of the problems that are being spoken about, that we’re not learning, are being worked on and spoken about in the nets all the time.
You know how it works, though. The selector is new, the captain is new what about the coach?
I’ll look forward to a bit more gardening if that’s the case. I’ve enjoyed doing it. I think the messages that we’re giving the guys are the right ones. I obviously understand some of those questions [about my future] that are asked, that’s the lot of a coach. If someone higher up the order makes that decision, so be it. I speak for all of the coaches, all we want for the players is the very best, for them to be playing at their very best, and winning games for England. We’re not going to stop working towards that goal.
Is the message getting through, though? We’ve heard a lot of this before
Well, obviously not enough. In a way, you almost throw your hands up sometimes. But what else can you do? We continually deliver that type of message and are continually working on it in the nets. There’s a whole host of issues that I think can be discussed and looked at, and there is a committee that has been put in place to actually look at those things. Is playing on wickets where you’re not going to bat for too long, before you get one that does a heap, is that necessarily good in the long term for learning how to concentrate for long periods. All of those little things have got to be answered.
Is it frustrating that you have two incredibly experienced seamers who seem to have been out-bowled in their own conditions by Mohammad Abbas? They seem reluctant to aim at the stumps
What I will say with those two guys is that not everyone is exactly the same. There are different ways of actually bowling. Someone like Broady, who is six foot six or seven, it is going to be a little different to the little medium-pace skidders. I think [James Anderson’s] mode of operation, for a swing bowler, is probably a little different to what everyone would think. He’s the type of swing bowler who likes to frustrate the batter; don’t give him anything up, then give him the one up. Obviously, from that point of view, you’re not going to get quite as many up there.
There might have been a little bit of frustration, trying to get it up there – which is not necessarily the mode of operation for him. It looked like the rhythm was a little bit out on that first afternoon. But certainly, what we want to try to do is create so many chances you take 10 wickets. And we created 14 or 15, so there is not a terrible lot wrong with that. But yes, we do discuss – when there is a fair bit in the wicket – about maybe the ratio of those balls a little further up.
The fielding wasn’t great. You’ve a new fielding coach – Carl Hopkinson. What went right and what went wrong?
It’s a little bit like the batting – we probably had three of the best practice sessions we’ve had going into the match. I’m almost at a loss sometimes. It’s got to be concentration, I think, and confidence. Once the first one goes down, it’s a little bit like when we lose a wicket or too. Sometimes that confidence goes down. We’ve got to back our own ability, be confident in the work you’ve been doing, put that aside and concentrate on the next one. But certainly, it was desperately disappointing with the catching.
I thought Carl Hopkinson, in the three days he spent with us, did fantastically well. But it’s not going to change overnight. Again, it’s something we have worked on over a long period of time – so it’s disappointing that every now and then we do go through that period of dropping catches.
There’s been a strong denial from the ECB about the spot-fixing allegations. But does having that in the background cloud minds going into these Tests?
There certainly hasn’t been any chat about it at all around the dressing-room. If individually, or personally, after the game they’ve had a bit of a chat about it I can’t answer that. But certainly there was absolutely no chat about it in the changing-room, and it would be wrong to blame that for the way we played. When we were told about it, the thought on it was rubbish – ‘they don’t know what they’re talking about’. There’s nothing we can do about it. If they want to put something out there, let’s get out there and try to concentrate on playing some good cricket.