Giles reflects on special 2019
The former Warwickshire and England spinner analyses a special year for English cricket.
Managing Director of England's Men's Cricket Ashley Giles knew he'd started from the deep end.
When appointed on the 14 December, the former spinner who played 54 Tests, knew he was heading into a special year for English cricket.
"They gave 100% and that’s all you can ask from your players."
First up was a World Cup on home soil with expectation high heading in as the number one ranked ODI side across the globe.
Then an Ashes series followed where the Australian's were returning to England's back yard with Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all available following their suspensions.
The build-up certainly didn't disappoint as England defeated in New Zealand in one of the games greatest ever matches.
And with hardly a chance to take a breath, the Ashes followed in a similar vein with both sides taking blows.
Smith showed his class at Edgbaston, turning the partisan opening Test from England's grasp, giving Australia the advantage, whilst Ben Stokes, the World Cup hero, went one better, firing 135* and single-handedly defeating their down under rivals.
It was special summer and, according to Giles, was one he would have taken nine months prior.
"If you’d had offered me a World Cup Trophy and a 2-2 in the Ashes I’d probably snapped your hand off," said Giles when speaking at a former Warwickshire players golf day.
"I guess at the end of a 2-2 Ashes series you’re wondering and looking at moments where you could have turned matches and losing at Edgbaston was disappointing for us.
"But again, really proud of the guys who played during the summer because post-World Cup was tough to try and get everyone up.
"Everyone ran through the line, even when they were 2-1 down. We could see at The Oval it went to the very last ball, they gave 100% and that’s all you can ask from your players."
Edgbaston is England's home, a place where defeats are few and far between in recent years.
The opening Ashes Test was England's first Test defeat in the Second City since 2009, having won four straight Tests prior.
England returns to Edgbaston for a West Indies Test and Ireland ODI in 2020 and Giles knows the players will be excited to sample the atmosphere once again.
"It’s still a great place for us to go and the players love going to Edgbaston as we’ve got a great record there," the 46-year-old added.
"There were things that went against us and there were moments in the game where we could have taken those opportunities and taken a grip on the game.
"Losing your best bowler having bowled four overs in the match is always going to be difficult from there.
"But we love Edgbaston and I know I’m slightly biased but we look forward to returning this year. It’s a home game for me. I only live down the road.
"It is a place where we’ve had success, we always get very well looked after and you can’t look past the crowd.
"When the Hollies is buzzing, it’s just a great atmosphere and one of the best atmospheres in the world let alone in the country."
Tickets for England v West Indies on 12-16 June, 2020 are on sale now.