England cricket coach Chris Silverwood ruled out of SCG Test as a COVID-19 close contact

It was possible that the emergence of more positive cases among players and support staff during the Melbourne Test may have seen it called off early. As it was, Australia retained the Ashes with an innings victory completed before lunch on the third day.

Much of the scrutiny following this result has fallen upon Silverwood, who is not only the coach but the sole selector of the England side. It is unclear whether he will have any say in the composition of the team for Sydney from isolation.

England’s players and hierarchy have rallied around the captain Joe Root, with the strong suggestion that the ECB chief executive Tom Harrison wants him to continue as leader.

However things are far less promising for Silverwood, in part by dint of the fact there are many more other candidates for his job. Ashley Gile,s the England team director who chose Silverwood over Gary Kirsten, is also under considerable pressure.

“Absolutely. It’s clear that the captaincy isn’t having an effect on his batting, which a lot of the time with captains can be the case,” the seam bowler Chris Woakes said when asked if Root had the team’s backing to carry on.

“The fact that he’s scoring the runs he is is great for the team. It would be great if we could help him out with that and build some partnerships with him, and score a few more runs around him. But Joe is a great cricketer, he’s got a great cricket brain.

“I think his record as England captain [27 wins, 24 defeats, eight draws] is pretty good, as far as I’m aware. I definitely feel like Joe will continue. The group of players, the management and the staff we have out here have the backing of the players to hopefully put things right, over the next two games in particular.”

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