England can regain the Ashes and capitalise on their “best opportunity” to win a World Cup in 2019, says new director of cricket Ashley Giles.
Giles, 45, succeeded Andrew Strauss in the role in December after the former England captain stepped down to support his late wife’s cancer battle.
He will oversee plans for the World Cup – beginning 30 May – before a Test series against Australia in August.
“I need to make sure there’s no interference to derail us,” said Giles.
The former England spinner told BBC Sport: “I believe we can win the World Cup and the Ashes. This year creates probably the best opportunity for a long time.
“I think with World Cups we found ourselves, in the past, suddenly running into a bit of a meltdown or change – that’s not the case this time around.”
‘Strauss’ legacy is clear’
England and Wales will host the World Cup, which is held by Australia following their 2015 win.
Giles praised the legacy of Strauss in improving England’s fortunes in the shortest forms of the game; pointing to the country’s rank as number two in the world in Test cricket and number one in the one-day game as evidence of a balance being struck.
“I think the focus on white-ball cricket has been a real step change in what we do,” added Giles. “I was involved from a coaching perspective in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and white ball played second fiddle to Test cricket.
“Andrew addressed that balance and the results are pretty clear. I know it must have been incredibly difficult to give up the role on the eve of a World Cup he has worked so hard towards.”
One head coach or two?
Giles said his team were “devastated” for Strauss, who lost his wife Ruth to cancer in late December.
He says he hopes to sit in on selection for both the World Cup and Ashes before turning his attention to appointing a successor to head coach Trevor Bayliss, who will leave his role after overseeing both events this summer.
Giles was sacked as England’s limited-overs coach in 2014 after a period in which coaching duties were split, with Andy Flower in charge of the Test team.
A return to splitting duties for different formats of the game between two men is again an option, with Giles adamant “it can work”.
“My experiences with Andy don’t lead me away from doing split coaches,” he added.
“What we are seeing with players is, once where we thought we may have red-ball and white-ball players, a lot play a few forms of the game now. There is a case to have the same guy managing them.
“With the workloads we have coming up, it is one of the options to have split coaches, either at the top or underneath.
“There’s always a shelf life to this too. You’re not going to be in coaching or management for 10 years. A dressing room stops listening.”