England boss Trevor Bayliss prepares to depart: The highs and lows

When Trevor Bayliss steps down as England coach at the end of this summer of cricket, the Australian may well have mixed feelings.

Fresh off the back of a World Cup victory - and a potential Ashes triumph to seal a dream double - the 56-year-old has vowed to leave as promised.

He even has a new job lined up, with Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But when he reflects on his four-year tenure at the helm, will he consider it a success or failure?

Paul Farbrace, his former assistant, certainly reckons it was the former - labelling Bayliss a ‘genius’.

He said: "He is a genuine cricket lover and he's passionate about the game, with exceptional knowledge. He may forget the odd name, but he doesn't forget too much about the game.

"He has been the perfect fit for England over the last four years. The World Cup was the goal four years ago and that's what they have achieved."

Here are the experienced coach’s highs and lows in charge of the World Cup winners.

Trevor Bayliss has endured a mixed time in his role as England coach

The good

England are crowned world champions

The definitive high point of Bayliss' tenure with England is - and likely forever will be - the memorable win at the men's Cricket World Cup.

A tournament England had never won, entered as hosts and favourites - eventually defeating New Zealand in a nail-biting finale at Lord's.

Bayliss' prior credentials as a white-ball master had attracted the ECB to his coaching in 2015 after a dogged World Cup that saw England embarrassed by hosts Australia and New Zealand before being dumped out unceremoniously by Bangladesh.

The Australian helps England demolish Australia... repeatedly

Another high point based off a white-ball demolition of Australia, England went into the one-day international series against their Ashes rivals off the back of a 4-0 defeat in the Test matches.

Things immediately got going with Jason Roy's record score of 180 in a successful chase of 305.

A Tom Curran masterclass rounded off the series as he took 5-35 with England defending 259 on a drop-in pitch in Perth to seal a historic series win for England.

The feat was later repeated in England's 5-0 whitewash on home soil, capped off by a Jos Buttler century to help England recover from 114-8 to chase 211.

The emergence of Bairstow, the batsman

Until 2017, Jonny Bairstow was considered by many to be a good but not exceptional wicket-keeper batsman. Stifled of chances in the ODI setup, Bairstow often found himself in the middle order - that was if he even found himself in the side.

Things changed for the Yorkshireman when Bayliss promoted him to open the batting in place of an out-of-form Roy for the Champions Trophy semi-final in 2017.

Bairstow immediately clicked in the role, making scores of 100* and 141* inside his first two months in the role. This continued into 2018 and 19, with Bairstow making two more centuries at the World Cup against India and New Zealand.

A Bayliss masterstroke transformed Bairstow from middle-order struggler to world-class batsman who has gone on to perform well for not only England but in T20 leagues around the world.

Trevor Bayliss led England to World Cup glory this summer. (Photo by Gareth Copley-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

The bad

Demolished in India

As beneficial as Bayliss' appointment was for England's limited-overs division, their record in Test cricket suffered especially away from home.

England arrived in India in 2016 with Alastair Cook as captain, a young and exciting squad including prospects Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed, Zafar Ansari and Ben Duckett.

However, five Tests later they departed with no victories, a captain on the verge of resignation, a huge backlash on Twitter and a drop in the world rankings.

A disaster by anyone's judgment, the series reared its ugly head once more when Cook resigned the captaincy in February 2017.

World T20 final failure

A moment that will haunt England fans and specifically Ben Stokes, the image of Carlos Brathwaite hoisting a fourth consecutive six to win the T20 World Cup took the air from an otherwise excellent tournament for England.

Defending 155, England removed danger man Chris Gayle with only the second ball of the chase. After a Marlon Samuels 85, Brathwaite was left to face the final over of the tournament from death bowling expert Stokes needing 19 to win.

24 runs off four balls later, and Stokes had fallen to the ground in despair while the West Indies celebrated.

How did this happen?

England felt the tournament should have been theirs - and it may well have been without the presence of Brathwaite, their conqueror.

Irish rebellion bowls England over

When England set out for a four-day Test match against Ireland at Lord’s, the side likely expected it to be a simple warm-up for the Ashes - even if Ireland’s miracle win at the 2011 World Cup was still fresh in the minds of some England fans.

However, as Olly Stone fell for 19 it ended an appalling England display which saw Joe Denly top score with 23 and the whole side bowled out for just 85.

England did eventually recover to win by ferociously bowling Ireland out for just 38, but by then the fans and coaches had been given a fright to remember - prompting Bayliss to publicly state that you wouldn’t ‘need to be Einstein’ to establish that England’s weakness is the frailty of the top order.

...And the unsolved

The Joe Root dilemma

A pertinent question for Bayliss (and one he's never been able to solve) is the batting position of Test skipper Joe Root in the longest format of the game.

Traditionally, Root prefers to bat at four, allowing him to clear his mind before going out to bat.

Bayliss, though, argued that the leader has a responsibility to step up and bat at three for the team.

The long-running argument has plagued England, with Root's unsettlement in the batting order culminating in a botched attempt at moving Moeen Ali to three against India in 2018.

Root's average indicates he actually performs better at five, but in his two most notable positions (3 and 4) the Yorkshireman averages higher in his preferred fourth spot - at 48 - compared with 41 at three.

Despite his characterisation by some as an overly laissez-faire coach who could shout about aggressive batting until the cows come home, Bayliss will be held in high esteem by England's players and fans.

He delivered what no other coach could - a World Cup - and his attacking and vibrant strategy changed the dynamic of not only England's men's sides but one-day cricket as a whole.

Whoever comes next has a tough act to follow.

By Thomas Godfrey

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