There’s been no shortage of goodwill for Trevor Bayliss – from cricketers, officials and pundits in Australia and England alike.
For Rod Marsh it’s been a refreshing acceptance of globalisation in the sport, something that was lacking when he made a similar shift 14 years ago.
Marsh was headhunted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2001 to head up its new academy, having performed the same role with great success in Adelaide.
Marsh had put in 13 years of service as Australia’s wicketkepeer and 11 as coach of the institution that helped shape the careers of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and so many others.
But eyebrows were raised, headlines were made and ex-teammates expressed condemnation when Marsh accepted the remit of resurrecting English cricket.
“It was a much better job. A hell of a lot of a better job,” Marsh told AAP.
“I could spend more time coaching and less time worried about administration.
“The business of working with the enemy. I never even looked at it that way. It’s the way the world works.
“Some people used the word traitor … but I think it’s great for the game that people travel to other countries for work.”
Marsh has done plenty of that, including stints with India’s national cricket academy and the International Cricket Council’s academy in Dubai.
Bayliss is likewise well travelled, having coached Sri Lanka and IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders in addition to NSW and the Sydney Sixers.
A surprise English victory in the first Test immediately endeared Bayliss to locals, while a brutally honest press conference after the second Test was also widely praised.
The reality is the wheel can turn quickly.
Bayliss’ predecessor Peter Moores was sacked 13 months into his stint.
Marsh believed “it’d be ridiculous” for anyone to spurn Bayliss, regardless of how the Ashes finish up.
“He will do an excellent job. He’s not the type of person that is going to make enormous waves,” he said.
“But he may make an enormous difference.
“Trevor’s an excellent coach and an excellent communicator. He’ll be very good.”
Bayliss has repeatedly denied there is any sense of apprehension coaching against Australia, likening it to playing backyard cricket against family or friends.
Marsh was in an even more awkward position during the 2005 series.
The legendary gloveman had already decided to leave England, but was still on the books of the ECB.
Some of his recent students at the ECB academy – Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Steve Harmison – played major roles in what’s considered one of the greatest Test series of all time.
“I wanted to see was them all do exceptionally well and lose,” he quipped.
“All the boys I had through both systems – I just wanted everyone to do really well.”
Marsh had a voice at the ECB selection table although that was surprisingly silenced during 2005.
“I wasn’t a selector during the Ashes,” he said.
“I don’t know what they thought …maybe that I was going to pick a bad side, which is just ridiculous.
“But that was fine. In a lot of ways I was quite grateful.”
Marsh returned to Cricket Australia (CA) in 2011 as a sector then replaced John Inverarity as Australia’s chairman of selectors in 2014.
The 67-year-old is the on-duty selector for the duration of the Ashes, but would happily swap the five-Test series for a couple of Sheffield Shield games.
“People think I’m mad, but I probably enjoy going to a Sheffield Shield match more than I ever would enjoy a Test,” Marsh said.
“I can actually look at players and decide whether or not that person could be a Test player – and that’s really my job.
“Once they get here it’s pretty simple … while they’re performing, you keep picking them basically.”
As for his own future, Marsh is tightlipped.
But given he intended to retire ten years ago, only to be tempted by the ICC and CA, it’s safe to say the end is coming.
“I won’t be hanging around for too long, put it that way,” he said.
“I’m very firm in where I’m headed there.”
ROD MARSH’S ASHES IMPRINT
Marsh has played a major role in both Ashes squads. The following players either toured with the veteran coach in underage national squads or learned from him at an academy:
Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Shaun Marsh
Alastair Cook, Jimmy Anderson, Ian Bell
“They were all premier players in their respective years … they’ve all been terrific players for their country. It’s nice to have had a little bit of something to do with it, not that much really,” Marsh said.