The cricketing fraternity considers Trevor Bayliss a master tactician. The seasoned coach, who guided England’s men’s cricket team to its first-ever World Cup title last year, is also extremely successful in the shortest version of the game.
In his long and illustrious career, the Australian has helped Kolkata Knight Riders clinch the Indian Premier League (IPL) title twice — in 2012 and 2014.
He also played a key role in Sydney Sixers clinching the Big Bash League and the now-defunct Champions League T20.
Bayliss is back in business — this time as the head coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In a chat with Sportstar from Dubai, the 57-year-old made it clear that he wouldn’t tweak too much with the Sunrisers set-up and would ensure that the youngsters learn a lot from the seniors — David Warner, Kane Williamson and Bhuvneshwar Kumar…
You are coaching an IPL team after a long time. What are your thoughts?
It’s exciting; it’s new. It’s a different team that has done well in the last four-five years. Personally, I am very much happy about it.
Last year, England’s men’s cricket team won its first ODI World Cup title under your coaching. How was the experience?
Obviously, those were very good memories. I am lucky enough to have some really good experiences, not just with England, but also with the IPL teams in the previous editions. I also had a (stint with) Sri Lanka before.
You took over as the head coach of England at a time when the team was in transition. During your four-year stint, you nurtured talents such as Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, among others…
The players deserve most of the credit and I was just one part of the England coaching setup. Where they have got to is (great). It’s always good to see the players you have worked with and spoken to excel and play well in the future.
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner (left) and Kane Williamson. “The more you have such players in the team, the better it is for you. If they work together, it’s a bonus for the team. The two have worked together for Sunrisers for four-five years, so that’s one of the pluses,” says Bayliss. – Nagara Gopal
The IPL 2020 is a new experience for all. What are your thoughts on the bio-bubble and how do you plan to keep the players motivated?
This is something new for all of us. We may not get everything exactly right in this bubble and (with) the new way of doing things. It’s about learning on the go. It’s just as much about being in form and physically fit. It will also be important to keep the boys mentally fit. That doesn’t necessarily mean practising every day. It will be a case of having a rest period as well to keep the boys nice and fresh.
Sunrisers has a perfect blend of experience and youth. What is your advice for the team?
Sunrisers has done well over the last four-five years, so it must have been doing a lot (of things) right. I don’t think we have to change a lot. It would be about using the experience of (V. V. S.) Laxman, Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and Brad Haddin — who is the assistant coach. We need to make the most of the experience that we have got in the team. People like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner — the captain — and Kane Williamson have a lot of experience in international cricket and it’s about using those experiences and passing them on to the younger players.
How much of an advantage is it to have two of the finest cricketers — David Warner and Kane Williamson — in the team?
The more you have such players in the team, the better it is for you. If they work together, it’s a bonus for the team. The two have worked together for Sunrisers for four-five years, so that’s one of the pluses. I am happy that we have got some of the best players who keep calm and perform under pressure. One of the reasons behind their success as captains is that they are calm under pressure. That rubs off on the other players.
At a time when sports has suffered immensely due to the pandemic, how important is this year’s IPL for the cricketing ecosystem?
In these times, it is important from the public’s point of view that they have something to keep their minds active. A lot of people are in quarantine, lockdown, and it’s important that they get some sort of stimulation. The IPL has been a great tournament for a number of years now, so I am sure a lot of people, especially in India, will be looking forward to this tournament to give them some sort of interest during this tough period.
Bayliss with team mentor V. V. S. Laxman during a practice session. The experience of Laxman, Muttiah Muralitharan and Brad Haddin, who is the assistant coach, will come in handy, feels the coach. – Courtesy: Sunrisers Hyderabad
In the auction in December last year, players were chosen keeping in mind that the matches will be played in India. But now, how much of a challenge will it be to get the combination right in the UAE?
It’s obviously a little bit different to India, but all the teams have got some very, very good players. Lot of them are good players who have played around the world, and most have got 20-plus players. I am sure they have all bases covered. Whoever uses those combinations best and quickest will probably be the teams that will do well.
You helped Kolkata Knight Riders win two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014. Any memories you cherish?
I was lucky to have had two title wins with KKR. They and Sunrisers are very similar as both are very family-oriented teams. The experience has been great; I learned a lot as well and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Obviously, this is a new time and I hope I have the same success with SRH.
The pandemic has led to the postponement of the T20 World Cup. Will this delay have any bearing on the tournament?
That’s a hard answer. With this pandemic going on, everyone needs to make some changes. In cricket, you have different scenarios. This is just another one from a cricketer’s point of view. I am sure the best players will be able to handle those changes and work out on how to do well in those situations. The T20 World Cup has been postponed by 12 months or so, but there is nothing we can do about it. We need to get on with it and go out and play to the best of our abilities.