Head coach keeping open mind on selection changes: ‘If people are getting runs, I’ll be taking notice’
On a blameless batting track, England were 122 for 9 at stumps on day three of the Test. That gave them a lead of just 37 runs with one wicket in hand. New Zealand, who have not won a Test series in England since 1999, therefore look certain to inflict upon England their first home Test series defeat since 2014.
It left Silverwood, the England head coach, acknowledging the batters would be “disappointed” in the performance and that his side would “need to improve” if they were to challenge the top sides in world cricket.
“It’s obviously not good enough,” Silverwood said. “We need to improve, there’s no doubt about that. There are things to work on without a shadow of a doubt. No-one is going to hide from that or deny it.
“I’m not going to lie: I thought it was a great opportunity for some of the younger lads to come in and stamp their mark on the game. I’m sure one or two will be disappointed they haven’t been able to do that.
“When do we stop talking and start delivering? I think we need to start seeing starts turned into big scores now. That’s one thing we’re looking for: people pushing on and being greedy when they get in.”
“Getting the experience of Buttler and Stokes back will help the young players, as well. We’ve seen in the past that, if you put the inexperienced players in between the experienced ones, it helps them learn. That’s what I’m hoping will happen in the India series.
“We need to get that batting line-up more solid and start playing the game plan we’re aiming for. That’s big first-innings runs, big partnerships and big individual scores.”
He dismissed the suggestion that the furore over historic social media posts had in any way distracted his players and expressed a hope they could learn from the skill and commitment of the New Zealand side.
“I don’t think it has [been a disruption],” he said. “We’ve tried very hard to make sure that the noise on the outside has been quietened down to try and concentrate on cricket. Obviously, it’s not easy, but that’s what we’ve had to try and do because we had a Test match to try and compete in.
“There were plenty of lessons out there to learn from. It’s a case of watching and learning what we can from how the New Zealand players go about their business, the methods they use and the way they apply themselves.”
He conceded, however, that he would be keeping an open mind towards changes in selection, with Dawid Malan one name tipped for a recall.
“I’ll be keeping my mind wide open, that is for definite,” Silverwood said. “So, if people are getting runs, I’ll be taking notice.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo