Moeen Ali praises sacked Chris Silverwood as a ‘good guy’ who looked after players

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England allrounder, who retired from Tests last year, says coaching changes were inevitable after poor Ashes

Chris Silverwood, the sacked England head coach, is a “good guy” who looked after his players’ best interests, Moeen Ali says.
Speaking after Silverwood, his assistant Graham Thorpe, and head of men’s cricket Ashley Giles were removed from their posts in the aftermath of England’s 4-0 Ashes series defeat, Moeen acknowledged that changes were inevitable within the national team set-up following such a disappointing campaign in Australia.

“One thing with Silverwood, he tries to look after the players and he’s a brilliant person, he’s a very good coach,” Moeen said. “It’s a shame he’s obviously not there anymore but he’s made lots of friends and he can go with a lot of respect because he was such a good guy.

“It’s always sad when people leave, the guys are good guys and they’ve all done a great job, but at the end of the day everything is about results and we had a poor Ashes and these things happen. It’s not a job forever. They tried to do the best for the players but these things happen when you have a bad tour like Australia, which is big for England, people then always after that get sacked, so it’s very sad.”

Silverwood and Thorpe followed Giles in paying the price last week for England’s dismal tour of Australia, which was beset not only by poor results on the field, but reports of an off-field drinking culture and poor fitness levels.

Among the contenders to step in as interim coach for England’s three-Test tour of West Indies, which gets underway on February 24 with the first Test starting on March 8, are current assistant Paul Collingwood, who oversaw the recent white-ball tour there, and Richard Dawson, who guided the Young Lions to the Under-19 World Cup final, also in the Caribbean. Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, has expressed an interest in the post, while Justin Langer – who led Australia’s T20 World Cup and Ashes victories – has firmed as a contender for a permanent coaching position with England after his split from Cricket Australia.

Moeen was absent from the Ashes tour, having announced his retirement from Test cricket in September. He continues to play white-ball cricket at the highest level, however, captaining England in the absence of an injured Eoin Morgan during their 3-2 T20I series defeat to West Indies which included two Player-of-the-Match performances. He is also active in franchise competitions around the world, playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 at the end of last year, and now with table-topping BPL side Comilla Victorians, who have won four of their six matches so far.

Speaking in Sylhet, where his wife is originally from, Moeen said he was relishing the chance to hone his batting against spin as well as capitalise on the conditions with the ball.

“Bangladesh is one of the hardest places to come, especially for batsmen, but you can learn so much,” Moeen said. “If you play well here, I feel you can play anywhere. That’s one of the reasons I came to Bangladesh, to try and improve and get used to conditions, so when I come with England, hopefully in the future, I know the conditions better and things like that.

“It’s good for me because obviously I bowl spin. Batting, I want to still improve. I’m 34, still always trying to improve and we’re doing well as a team. We want to win, obviously I want to win trophies. [I have] maybe five, six years left and I want to win as many trophies all over the world as I can, so that’s my aim with Comilla Victorians, to win the competition.”

Of the field, Moeen also revealed he was keen to learn more Sylheti.

“It’s my first time in Sylhet,” he said. “My family’s from here. I know a few Sylheti words and that’s about it. I wish I could learn more actually, I will try and learn more now that I’m here because the guys in the hotel are speaking, Sylheti to me so I need to try and learn.”

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