Giles warns against England clear-out after Ashes rout

·3-min read
Under pressure - England cricket managing director Ashley Giles (AFP/Ben STANSALL)

England managing director Ashley Giles has said he "absolutely felt" the responsiblity of an Ashes series loss in Australia but insisted a mass clear-out of the senior leadership would merely mask underlying problems.

With England already 3-0 down in the five-match series heading into the fourth Test at Sydney starting on Wednesday, there has been speculation about the future of both captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood.

Giles' role has also been questioned given it was the former England left-arm spinner who was behind the sacking of national selector Ed Smith and giving Silverwood sole authority for picking the team.

England are now in danger of suffering their third 5-0 series whitewash in Australia of the 21st century, having only previously lost an away Ashes campaign by that scoreline back in 1920/21.

"Being here now in this position, I absolutely feel the responsibility of losing this Ashes series," Giles told BBC Radio's Test Match Special and travelling English media at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"Absolutely, we all do, and we can only apologise," the 48-year-old added. "I know there will be a lot of emotion, a lot of anger about how we've lost it."

Tom Harrison, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive, was already in the firing line regarding the governing body's response to a racism scandal sparked by former spinner Azeem Rafiq's revelations regarding his treatment at Yorkshire.

- 'At our level' -

But Giles said changes at the top of the ECB would fail to solve the problems that saw 50-over world champions England lose the ongoing series in just 12 days' play when they collapsed to a meagre 68 all out in Melbourne last week.

"You can change me, change the head coach, change the captain, but we're only setting up future leaders for failure," Giles insisted amid concerns about the quality of English first-class cricket.

"Four out of 15 (Test wins in 2021) is not good," he added of a year that also saw England beaten 3-1 in India.

"In the 90s that was accepted as normal for England leaderships and they got away with it. We set our standards much higher than that."

Giles said England's struggles in Australia were simply a reflection of the players at their disposal, for all they aspire to be cricket's number one Test team.

"At the moment do we think we are a better side than we are? We are sort of at our level. Fourth in the world is probably where we are," he said.

"We've beaten the sides below us but, in these conditions, we're not beating the sides above us.

"What's important is that we don't try to paper over the cracks. We could easily go to West Indies (in March) and win, then win this (English) summer.

"We could do 'everything's alright, rah, rah, rah' but I think we still need to be truly focused on finding a way we can compete in Australia and in India."

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