England Cricket's new head coach Chris Silverwood speaks to the Echo about 'daring to dream' when playing for Haverhill a decade ago
New England boss Chris Silverwood said he had dared to dream about one day becoming head coach when he was playing for Haverhill a decade ago.
The Withersfield resident, who was last week revealed as Trevor Bayliss’ replacement at the helm of the national side, spoke to the Echo about his plans for England Cricket – both domestically and internationally.
The 44-year-old said that, while he was ‘very proud and extremely humbled’ to be offered the top job, he believes everyone involved in cricket is ‘responsible for keeping the game alive’. He is fully aware that he inherits a sport with participation issues at local level.
Vauxhall Mallards – a founder member of the East Anglian Premier League and, after winning the very first title, went on to be champions on four further occasions – folded this year; while Essex batsman Tom Westley’s boyhood club Weston Colville has also disappeared from the map in the adult game.
Silverwood said: “It’s always very sad when a cricket team folds, it has been a long time since I have been involved with the game locally to know the ins and outs.
“But we are all very aware of getting new blood in the game.
“I think there are some fantastic initiatives, such as AllStars, with a healthy number of children playing the game across the country.
“We need children to want to play the game over other sports and we do have a role to play in making sure the next generation are coming through.
“We are all responsible for keeping the game alive.
“Right now we are in a strong position after the World Cup – they have seen the razzmatazz of the game, and it’s a chance to build on that.
“All we can do is spark the imagination but the number of kids I have seen at Test matches is great and a big improvement from the past.”
Silverwood played for Haverhill in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship after moving to the area and helped them win promotion to Division One for the first time in their history in 2010.
He was still playing for Middlesex at the time as he ended his playing career, while working on his next steps in coaching, with Haverhill offering him a home while he made the transition. He joined the coaching at Specsavers County Championship team Essex in 2010, before becoming head coach in 2016.
They were promoted that year before going on to win the title in 2017 as he vastly improved the team’s fortunes in a short space of time.
He added: “When I was at Haverhill I would dream about this, dream that this could happen, I encourage everyone to dream.
“You know what? I don’t worry what other people say or what they think. At some point you have to get the experience after all, and I am just very proud.
“I have played and coached on the biggest stage already but I am still very keen to learn and I’m sure there are still plenty of ways for me to develop in the role as well.
“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise as I have spent two years working hard in my role as bowling coach while looking for opportunities to one day get the job.
“But it was still a very special moment to be told. I’m very proud and extremely humbled by it.”
With his first competitive series as head coach set to be England’s tour of New Zealand next month, the former seamer is aware of the need to build on the ‘razzmatazz’ created by winning the World Cup in the summer and the exposure the drawn Ashes series received.
The tour will include a five-match IT20 series starting on November 1 in Christchurch and two Tests against the Black Caps commencing on November 21 at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
Silverwood, originally from Yorkshire, took 577 first-class wickets at just under 28 runs apiece in his playing career, but it is the batting he will first turn his gaze to.
He said: “I’m able to hit the ground running, I know the players, the staff and the set-up already; I have had the time to build relationships with the players, the captains and the way the team works.
“I already have a very good relationship with the captains (Joe Root and Eoin Morgan).
“From a Test perspective, I think it’s about getting people in the right places in the batting line-up as well as the style we need to adopt depending on the opponent.
“We want to work on creating a batting line-up that can bat for a long time.
“We saw the Australian attack was relentless this summer, and we need to be doing the same. We have a strong bowling unit already but there’s always ways to improve.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
He played six Tests and seven ODIs for England between 1996 and 2002.