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Chris Silverwood has the power - now he must use it - GETTY IMAGES

Chris Silverwood has the power – now he must use it – GETTY IMAGES

The last time England handed sole charge to a Yorkshireman it did not end well and it has taken 25 years to repeat the experiment.

“I’ve talked to the players but they keep on making the same mistakes.” Those were the exasperated words of Ray Illingworth, England manager after a tour to South Africa in 1995, the low point of his brief reign.

Yorkshire heritage is about all Chris Silverwood shares with Illingworth and their jobs will be very different. At 46 he is at the peak of his coaching career, rather than in his sixties like Illingworth. He knows county cricket from his time with Essex and has spent over three years working with England, the last 18 months as head coach.

Illingworth would not recognise the modern England set up. Silverwood has a retinue of backroom staff, all appointed by him too, as well as an academy and access to a vast database of statistical information and personality profiles of players. Widened squads due to Covid has given him the chance to assess fringe players as well.

Trevor Bayliss enjoyed working with Ed Smith and liked his command of detail, making up for his own lack of knowledge about players outside the England team. Silverwood, as a championship-winning coach, knows the domestic game inside out. Bayliss once asked Jake Ball, turning up for an England training session, who he was (Bayliss, to his credit, made a joke of it). Silverwood has known many of the young England players for years.

The ‘supremo’ model probably narrows down the field of candidates just to Englishman because it requires knowledge of the whole English game. Do not look far beyond Richard Dawson, the former Gloucestershire coach who joined England earlier this year as head of pathway, as Silverwood’s successor. Once Dawson was appointed, it made Smith’s role redundant. Sacking Smith with six months to go to an Ashes had been discussed for the past three weeks as Giles conducted his review of the winter. It would not be a surprise to read a book by Smith soon on the art of selection; he will not be short of offers.

Silverwood has an empathetic ear, and is liked by his players. It is inconceivable that he will suddenly adopt Illingworth’s Yorkshire gruffness.

He carefully spent more than 12 months assembling his backroom team, only recently appointing Marcus Trescothick (batting) Jeetan Patel (spin) and Jon Lewis (fast bowling) to the staff full time. All are renowned for their man-management skills. If a player has a problem, the assistant coaches will be the first port of call, rather than Silverwood, which should reassure anyone reluctant to tell the head coach in charge of selection that they are struggling.

Living in an echo chamber is one problem Silverwood will have to handle but there are external voices, many former captains in the media, who offer unofficial advice to England already. There is no shortage of opinions, and Silverwood can also call on the county network too where he knows everybody well.

Silverwood will need some of Illingworth’s steel in the coming months. Silverwood was too quick earlier this year to hold his hands up and concede playing in the IPL ahead of England is “the way of the world now”.

England are generous employers to allow centrally contracted players, some on seven-figure salaries, to play in the IPL ahead of a Test series against New Zealand in June, especially when supporters have not seen the players in the flesh for more than 12 months. But it cheapens the Test format. If the national team does not put Test cricket first then how long will fans buy expensive tickets? The Hundred has been introduced to wean English cricket off its reliance on the Test match pound but it will take time, so it is unwise to cheapen the format in any way whatsoever.

The IPL will expand next year to 12 teams. The unofficial window will grow. It is not the overlap with England matches that is the issue, it is the way the IPL season is now factored into a players’ year-long programme. It increasingly encroaches on the England winter, players will be rested so they can play in the IPL at a later date. Fine if it is one-day cricket, but not Test cricket.

It is encouraging that until India produced raging turners, the Test team had embraced Silverwood’s patient, old-school approach to Test cricket that has not changed much from Illingworth’s day. That commitment has not been changed by one series loss in India. Australia this week announced only three top-order batsmen on their central contract list reduced to 17. They have only one Test, against Afghanistan, scheduled before the Ashes; England have seven and time to be more certain of their lineup than Australia when the Ashes starts in December as long as they focus on the Test side.

What Silverwood does share with Illlingworth, is that he has inherited his captains. It is the transition away from Eoin Morgan, who has built an unprecedented power base for an England captain, that could be his hardest decision.

Morgan is a fine captain and batsman but there will be a moment when he requires a tap on the shoulder. There is hope Morgan will sense it first. He is a man who knows his own mind, and will never be short of offers in franchise cricket. If he lingers on, it will be down to Silverwood to make the call, and it could happen sooner than expected if England have a poor Twenty20 World Cup in November. Root’s future will be decided soon after in Australia. There is a lot at stake in Silverwood’s first year in the job and he knows it is his neck on the line now.