Incoming England coach Trevor Bayliss and the man who’ll be his assistant, Paul Farbrace, have a bond that was strengthened when they survived a 2009 terrorist attack in Pakistan.
The first Australian to coach England met Farbrace in 2006 when the Englishman travelled to Sydney.
Bayliss was in charge of NSW and Farbrace was on an exchange in his role with county side Kent.
“I ended up going back to his house for dinner one night, met his family, and we got on well right from the start,” Farbrace recalled on Tuesday.
A year later Bayliss was coaching Sri Lanka and asked the Englishman to join him.
That’s how they came to be sitting on the Sri Lankan team bus together in Lahore in early 2009.
They were travelling to the Gaddafi Stadium discussing how they wanted their charges to bowl that day.
“Then I got thrown off my seat by a grenade going off on my side of the bus, which ended up with me needing two operations on my arm back in Colombo and spending 10 days in hospital,” Farbrace said.
“But on the other side of the aisle Trevor had the most amazing escape.
“He got off his seat and below the height of the window and put his backpack with his computer in it behind him as some sort of protection.
“Afterwards there were three bullet holes in the window where his head and chest would have been.
“It was a phenomenal, frightening escape.”
Farbrace, 47, said Bayliss’s response was typical.
The Australian didn’t make a fuss. He remained calm and matter-of-fact and provided leadership. Security staff lost their lives that day.
“He’s such an impressive bloke,” England’s interim coach said.
“He’s got good knowledge, good experience, he’s an old-fashioned cricket coach really.
“He’s not noisy or in your face, he’s quite relaxed, very straight, very honest – he’ll be just right for the England team.”
Bayliss is looking forward to reuniting with Farbrace given the pair share a similar outlook.
But the current NSW coach isn’t heading to the UK until mid-June.
In the meantime, Farbrace will remain in charge for the next Test against New Zealand as well as the one-day and Twenty20 fixtures.
“I’ve already been speaking to Farby about the job and the team,” Bayliss said on Tuesday.
“I’m really looking forward to renewing our working relationship and friendship.
“We got on very well in the past, and he’s going to be very important for me, with the rest of the backroom staff, because obviously I haven’t got the county cricket background or knowledge of the players coming through the county ranks.”