Gary Kirsten has declared his interest in coaching England by saying reviving their Test fortunes would be a “lovely project”. The former India and South Africa coach has been linked with the England job before and his comments come with speculation over Chris Silverwood’s future as a result of the Ashes humiliation in Australia.
England’s hopes of reclaiming the Ashes disappeared in just 12 days as Australia took a decisive 3-0 series lead – and Silverwood’s side lost a record nine games in a calendar year in 2021.
“Working with a Test side, or working with an ODI side is great,” Kirsten told the i newspaper. “Listen, the England ODI side is set up, you’re the best ODI side in the world at the moment. It’s a project that has been well thought out. You’ve got consistency in the players that have been picked. Your Test side has battled for a while but it would be a really lovely project to get that going.”
Kirsten, who spent last summer working with the Welsh Fire in the Hundred, was linked with the England job in 2015 and 2019 when new coaches were being sought. The South African made it clear he could not commit to white-ball and red-ball formats and would only become involved if the two coaching roles were split.
Kirsten said: “Listen, it [the England job] is always a consideration because it’s a tremendous honour. I’ve walked this journey twice now and I’ve always made it clear that I would never commit to doing all formats.
“And when international cricket boards get their head around the fact that they need to split coaching roles, then it becomes a consideration. I actually said to the CEO of Cricket South Africa that I was happy to just do the Test side because I felt it should be the No 1 side in the world.
“It had all the credentials to do that. The issue is that the different formats have the potential to cannibalise teams. You focus too much attention on one format and the other format takes the hit. It’s not easy to get everything right.
“Look at Australia, they’re now using a lot of players across the different formats. It [England] is an interesting one. I think it’s a great project for someone to come in and take that Test side on. There’s a lot that needs to be put in place to build this Test team out. Maybe the time has come for England to say that Test cricket is their focus.”