Friday 6 December 2019

Steve Harmison: Ashley Giles remains best candidate to lead England

England coach Ashley Giles
England coach Ashley Giles

Former England bowler Steve Harmison believes Ashley Giles remains the best candidate to replace Andy Flower as head coach despite Monday's humbling defeat to Holland.

The last chapter of a disastrous winter was written as Associate nation Holland inflicted a 45-run defeat on England at the ICC World Twenty20 - a tournament from which England are returning home ahead of schedule.

Australian Trevor Bayliss is the latest name to be mentioned alongside those of limited-overs coach Giles, former South Africa and Australia coach Mickey Arthur and Lancashire's Peter Moores as the England and Wales Cricket Board looks to finally replace Zimbabwean Flower, who stepped down in January.

Recently-retired fast bowler Harmison thinks Giles is the stand-out contender.

"Ashley Giles is a better candidate than all of them put together," Harmison told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"People have got to realise, who really wants this England job? The only names that have come out and said they do want it are Mickey Arthur and (former Sri Lanka coach) Tom Moody.

"I would take Peter Moores, potentially, but the rest of them - I'm not being disrespectful - Ashley is better."

Harmison says England's recent performances under Giles have been badly affected by injuries to key players including Joe Root and Ben Stokes.

"Ashley Giles has been coach of the one-day squad for the last 18 months and he has never really had a full complement to pick from," he added.

"How many times did he have Kevin Pietersen? Very few. Graeme Swann? Missing. Ben Stokes? Missing. Joe Root? Missing.

"All this comes into the melting pot."

England and Essex spinner Monty Panesar echoed Harmison's concerns over a chronic lack of personnel and feels Giles was plagued by bad luck at the World Twenty20.

"I think he's been slightly unlucky," he told Sky Sports News. "I think at one point he had the right blend of squad and then the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes got injured.

"He's been a little bit unlucky not getting his best XI throughout the tournaments in the Caribbean and in the T20 so, if you take the Netherlands game aside, I think England played really well.

"They were a little bit unlucky against New Zealand but they had the game of the tournament against Sri Lanka, it was great entertainment for T20 and Alex Hales had a fantastic innings.

"I thought it was the best knock of the tournament. We weren't far off and against South Africa we were a bit unlucky.

"All in all with the squad of players they had, they weren't far off qualifying."

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