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England’s split-coaching will come under strain this winter due to simultaneous series

England’s split coaching will come under pressure this winter with the Test side heading for New Zealand, while the whiteball side looking to Bangladesh… with the schedule to force players to part to make one tour or the other

  • England cricket team employed split coaches for red and white ball sizes
  • The split has worked so far, but the parties will travel abroad at the same time
  • Multi-format players like Joe Root can only play for one team
  • The red ball side will be in New Zealand, with the white ball team in Bangladesh

The harmonious nature of England’s new split coaching dynamics will come under pressure for the first time this winter, when Test and white-ball teams are sent simultaneously to New Zealand and Bangladesh.

Test cricket has been prioritized at the start of the Rob Key era, but there will be a big challenge to overcome for coaches Brendon McCullum and Matthew Mott, respectively, as to who goes where in February.

While last week a reduced-strength squad was sent to the Netherlands for a three-game run, and those currently involved in Test action this month will get the next time off when India and South Africa are limited-overs opponents, the 2022-23 schedule forces individual players to be part of one tour or the other.

Ben Stokes (left) and Brendon McCullum have revolutionized England's test side so far

Ben Stokes (left) and Brendon McCullum have revolutionized England’s test side so far

Matthew Mott saw the England ODI side win 3-0 in the Netherlands in his first series in the lead

Matthew Mott saw the England ODI side win 3-0 in the Netherlands in his first series in the lead

The first one-day international of a three-game series in Bangladesh is scheduled for March 1, the day after the second Test in Wellington was to end. During that test, a few warm-up matches take place to acclimatize.

It means no staff crossover as things are on tentative routes, and therefore some tough decisions.

As captain, Ben Stokes is required to travel to his native country for two Tests, but the destinations for some of England’s other multi-format players, such as Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, do not appear to be clear. †

Individuals won’t want to miss Testcaps, or miss the challenge of winning a first series in New Zealand since 2007-08 – but there are influential factors at play during the match that could see the cue win over red at this time.

Joe Root is a key part of England's ODI side but is also their best test batter so faces a dilemma

Joe Root is a key part of England’s ODI side but is also their best test batter so faces a dilemma

Firstly, the importance of the New Zealand tour has been toned down as it will be hosted outside the future tour schedule of the ICC and thus the World Test Championship.

By contrast, the matches in Bangladesh have been given more context as seven months later, when England defend their World Cup title, they will be played under similar conditions to those in India, thus providing an opportunity for important preparation for the tournament.

In the shorter term, England will decide the availability of their Test players for the twelve internationals with limited excess in the coming days in July.

It’s likely Stokes will be told to rest for the majority of their matches against India and South Africa, although it could be for the Twenty20 series against the latter opponents, while others will have tailored schedules drawn up after personal consultation with McCullum, Mott and Key, who retains the casting vote on such matters until a new national voter is appointed.

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