England have promoted Chris Silverwood to head coach. No-one’s really acknowledging it because he was coaching Essex before he joined the England setup, but Chris Silverwood is from Yorkshire.
Is that significant? Of course it’s significant. England at one point hired straight-talking, no-nonsense Yorkshire stereotype Ray Illingworth as chairman of selectors/coach/’supremo’ (he said it frustrated him he couldn’t captain the team on the field) and he fell out with quite a lot of the players and achieved very little.
Illingworth dovetailed with his captain, Mike Atherton, in much the same way that a texting driver’s car dovetails with a cyclist pulling out of a side road. In his autobiography, Athers said that Illy displayed double standards, wrecked team spirit, made unproductive public pronouncements and held back the development of the England team by spurning young players.
As we said, Illingworth was a Yorkshire stereotype so surely the world should be expecting something similar from Silverwood – the situation perhaps even compounded by the fact that he’ll be working alongside a Test captain who’s also a Yorkshireman.
But there’s none of this. There have been no references to Ray Illingworth and if there were, they’d be emphasising how Chris Silverwood is a very different person who will go about things in a very different way.
It is almost as if English cricket is refusing to deal in Yorkshire stereotypes. We can’t say we remember that happening before.