England AXE Ashley Giles after woeful Ashes flop

Ashley Giles “stepped down” from his role as managing director of England men’s cricket on Wednesday as he paid the price for a woeful 4-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

The humiliating reverse followed a poor 2021 where England lost nine of their 15 Tests and were beaten in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20.

“Ashley Giles is standing down as managing director, England men’s cricket,” said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.

The 48-year-old was appointed at the end of 2018, replacing former England captain Andrew Strauss, who will now take over on an interim basis ahead of next month’s three-Test series in the West Indies.

“Off the back of a disappointing men’s Ashes this winter we must ensure we put in place the conditions across our game to enable our Test team to succeed,” said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison in a statement.

Former England left-arm spinner Giles’ position was widely regarded as untenable following the Ashes defeat, where for all the problems of touring Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic, he was criticised for giving under-pressure head coach Chris Silverwood sole authority for picking the side after being behind the sacking of national selector Ed Smith.

Wednesday’s statement saw both Giles and the ECB acknowledge the highlights of his reign, which included a maiden 50-over world title in 2019, rising to the top of the top of the Twenty20 rankings and a current position of fourth in the Test standings.

It added Strauss will “put in place arrangements for the forthcoming West Indies tour, while the search begins for a full-time replacement.”

Wednesday’s announcement also means Giles will no longer be involved in a review of England’s dressing room culture sparked by the discrimination Azeem Rafiq suffered at Yorkshire.

Rafiq’s revelations led to a racism scandal throughout the English game as several similar cases were unearthed at rival counties, with Harrison facing calls to quit over the ECB’s response to the now retired spinner’s allegations.

Giles and Silverwood submitted their report on the Ashes campaign to Strauss, the chairman of the ECB’s cricket committee, last week.

Strauss made his recommendations to a full ECB board meeting on Wednesday.

Several pundits, including former England captain Mike Atherton, questioned whether Silverwood could stay as coach after several controversial selection decisions in Australia.

However, no announcements have yet been made regarding the future of either Silverwood or England batting coach Graham Thorpe, with Joe Root expected to stay on as Test captain.

Giles, having thanked England staff and players for their support, said: “The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to deliver in the toughest of circumstances. 

“This has undoubtedly protected the future of the game in England and Wales.”

Harrison, meanwhile, thanked Ashley Giles for his “huge contribution to the ECB and England men’s cricket.”

Only last month Giles said “I absolutely feel the responsibility of losing this Ashes series”, with England’s hopes of regaining the urn evaporating in just 12 days’ play when dismissed for a pathetic 68 all out in the third Test in Melbourne.

But amid concerns over the quality of English first-class cricket, he warned against a wholesale clear-out of senior management.

“You can change me, change the head coach, change the captain, but we’re only setting up future leaders for failure,” Giles said.