May 2009
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The TWC Interview: Ashley Giles

May 12th, 2009 by Sam Collins in County cricket, England, Test cricket


Ashley Giles was a crucial member of England’s victorious Ashes team of 2005. In all he played 54 Tests, taking 143 wickets at 40.60, and 62 ODIs for England before retiring in 2007. He now combines part-time selectorial duties for England with his role as director of cricket at Warwickshire. He was speaking to Sam Collins.

What is your exact role with England at the moment?

I’m a part-time selector so when we select bad teams I’m not involved… Obviously through my job at Warwickshire I see first-class cricket all the time. I’m part of the committee that picks, advises the Test team, ODI team and Twenty20 team and captain.

How do you feel about the claims from some of the other counties at the end of last season about conflicts of interest between your role as county coach and national selector?

All I can say is I’ve done everything above board. Ultimately in both roles my job is to produce England cricketers. I think it works.

Have you found it difficult to distance yourself from emotional feelings, for example surrounding the non-selection of your good friend Michael Vaughan?

You have to. It’s not a case of jobs for the boys. All the guys are realistic, they know I have a job to do.

What were you observations of why Peter Moores failed to get the best out of England?

The biggest problem in end was breakdown of relations between him and the captain – it became irreparable. Otherwise I don’t really want to talk about Mooresy’s reign. It didn’t work out for him and that’s unfortunate.

Were you disappointed not to get an interview for the England job?

I was but you have to move on. Even when I applied for the job I knew I had a lot of unfinished business at Warwickshire. The job here is a five-year plan.

How do you think Warwickshire are adjusting to Division One this season?

We’re adjusting pretty well. Our plan is about getting better year on year, recruiting younger and better players and improving across the board. We were unbeaten in the Championship – resilience I want to see again this year in Division One - but need to improve our one-day cricket, which wasn’t good last year.

You have been outspoken in your criticism of Kolpak players, yet there are a number of foreign-born players in your Warwickshire team.

Some people will call me a hypocrite. All our guys are English-qualified players and that’s what I go on. I do believe if someone has the will to play for the country and has qualified rightly then why not. A lot of last year we picked 11 qualified players. It goes back to my job – I want to produce the best possible English-qualified cricket team. It’s going to cost me this season – we had four players playing for the Lions a few weeks ago.

How would you describe your coaching philosophy in three words?

Disciplined, fair, and I hope, enjoyable as well.

How have you adapted your coaching to incorporate players who may not have worked on their games as much as you did when you were a player?

The great thing about coaching is you learn every day. Everyone is different. Some days you get it wrong and you regret it but that’s coaching. No one is like me. I was never perfect anyway – I made mistakes and at times you have to see mistakes in people along the way. As long as they learn from them and move on that’s brilliant. The pleasure is when people actually improve.

Does the potential burden on Chris Woakes this season worry you?

You have to take care of him. He’s still young – you don’t want to wear him out. He will definitely play for England one day because he has great a character and great attributes. He’s put on a bit of pace this year and I think he will again as he grows more. When you’ve got this special little trinket you have to look after it and not abuse it. But as far as the England set-up goes, if he keeps getting wickets, then get him in.

How is Ian Bell coming along?

He’s been a sort of model citizen around dressing room with us, adding to discussions and plans. And he’s a fabulous player.

How important is the Ashes build-up?

It’s massively important. We’ve lost the last three Test series, so there is not a lot of good stuff in the memory bank to take with you as we had in 2005. It doesn’t mean we can’t win the Ashes, what it does mean is we have to play well very quickly. We’ve got a new coach and have to prepare bloody well. And we have to scrap. That’s the one thing against the Aussies, it’s key in this series. If we start defensively, if we start taking steps backwards or try to ease slowly into the series then they’ll kill us. We have to make sure that even if we haven’t got any of this good history behind us that for ball one of this Ashes we’re confident and we go in and scrap.

Do you have a favourite memory from the Ashes 2005?

I think the last day of The Oval. The highs and lows of that day, and batting with KP for two or three hours was pretty special. To be a team and win that together was phenomenal.

Ashley Giles is a Trustee of  Cure Leukaemia (

Posted in County cricket, England, Test cricket | 2 Comments »

Telford Vice: Unholy reporting shows you can't please everyone

May 12th, 2009 by telford vice in IPL


The proudly podgy man turned a lighter shade of pale ale as he held a plastic tumbler up to the floodlit glow. “This game is going to be over before I’ve finished this drink,” he said, surveying with sadness what remained of his beer. His first beer at that. Not that he could have been surprised that the Kolkata Knight Riders were making a mess of another innings.

They were nine for three against the Delhi Daredevils as a perfectly pink sunset tucked a nippy Jo’burg evening in for the night. Fireworks streaked unarrested into the fading sky as each wicket fell. Below the cheerleaders wore scarcely more than the sparklers as they shimmied and shimmered to the thumping nightclub soundtrack. Pictures don’t come prettier than that.

Except, of course, for KKR fans. And, it seems, for some of us who present cricket as a product for media consumption. There has been some wholly unholy reporting on the Incredibly Pyrotechnic Loudness (IPL). Who cares if Lalit Modi is a made to measure megalomaniac millionaire? What does it matter if he spends more on picking his teeth than he gives to charity? That he gives anything at all makes him a shining exception among his ilk in all of sport. Which reporter hasn’t been pushed – subtly and less so – in the direction of a story that someone would have them write, and away from stories they would rather were not written? Get used to it.

The IPL has delivered a blueprint for how a tournament should be marketed and run. The Miss Bollywood malarkey is as hair-brained as it is harebrained,  but we all know that – including the women who hatch daft reasons for subjecting themselves to this culturally clumsy clanger. If that’s the profane, then the pile of money that the IPL is pumping into South African education is the sacred. The cricket itself has been, in large part, worthy of the attention it has been festooned with.

So, what’s the real beef? Could it be that Modi and his amazing travelling circus are simply too Other for the abject conservatives among us? Do they think their world is ending in a blaze of flashing lights, flashier strokes, and bhangra?

Happily, none of that mattered to the proudly podgy man as Kolkata’s innings wobbled upright enough to grant him a second beer. Cold comfort indeed.

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa who writes regularly for The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in IPL | 1 Comment »

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