Both sides will forget the off-field issues once they are on the ground - Trevor Bayliss

Both sides will forget the off-field issues once they are on the ground – Trevor Bayliss

Trevor Bayliss’ one and only Ashes series during his five-year term as England’s head coach ended in a 4-0 defeat and was distracted by off-field issues amid questions about his squad’s drinking culture and the absence of Ben Stokes due to him being involved in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub.

Four year laters, things have changed but the off-field issues still remain. Of course, the issues are new,different and spicier. Bayliss, speaking to reporters in his role as Sydney Thunder’s new head coach ahead of the BBL season, said that while the build-up to the Ashes had not been ideal, both teams would be fully committed to the series rather than the noises around it once they step onto the field at the Gabba next Wednesday.

Once the cricket starts, all players will be in play mode – Bayliss

“It probably makes a little bit of a change,” Bayliss said, asked about the spotlight on Australia following Paine’s resignation and subsequent decision to step away from the game for an unspecified period of time. “Normally when the England team comes here, all the focus is on them and the one or two small pick-ups they might have along the way get blown out of all proportion.

“With what’s going on in England at the moment, there’s obviously a bit in the background there as well. I think both teams will be more than happy for the cricket to start and all of that can get pushed into the background and they can concentrate on their cricket.

“I fully expect with both sets of players, that’s exactly what will happen. Once the cricket starts, there might be talk behind the scenes with commentators and journalists and that type of thing but I’m quite sure that once things get underway out on the field it’ll be all about the cricket.”

The pace trio of Australia is lethal – Bayliss

Bayliss believes that the lack of a proper preparation period might lead teams to rotate their fast bowlers throughout the series, but emphasized that for England, dealing with the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc would be a major challenge.

“The three big, tall pace bowlers Australia have got have done a lot of damage over the last few years and have bowled extremely well on these flat Australian pitches. They’re able to bang the ball in, they’ve got good pace, they’re tall, and they’re able to get a bit more out of it because of that pace and extra bounce.

“So that’ll be something that the England batters will have to negate. But as we saw on the last tour, they might have lost 4-0 but on different occasions they showed they could score runs against that attack. It’s about that consistency and doing it Test after Test, which I’m sure they’ll be looking for.”

Bayliss believes Ben Stokes’s presence itself will make a major difference

Ben Stokes, regarded as the best all-rounder in recent times, was unavailable for the 2017-18 tour. His absence had proved costly as England had struggled to find a balance. Now that he is back, Bayliss believes England’s side will be benefitted even more by his presence than performances.

“It’s not just his batting, his bowling or his fielding,” Bayliss said. “He’s one of those guys who is a leader within the group. He’s a very positive influence. There were times where he didn’t play because of injury in England and I think the team felt his loss when he wasn’t there. Certainly when he plays, he’s able to drag a lot more of the players along with him. He’s got a great attitude, a never-say-die attitude.”

Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.

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