sport

Giles enjoying hectic schedule

Ashley Giles' challenges are coming thick and fast as England's new limited-overs coach, but that is the way he likes it.

Giles, appointed less than two months ago to dovetail in the shorter formats alongside Test coach Andy Flower, completed a tough inaugural assignment in India just last week and must now embark on stage two of England's new era by forging a partnership with returning Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad.

After three matches against New Zealand in the shortest format, starting next week, Giles' tourists have three one-day internationals against the hosts.

The former Ashes-winning slow left-armer will then have a three-month break to consider his hectic learning curve so far.

But in that time frame, planning and selection must be fine-tuned for the Champions Trophy - the mid-summer 'mini World Cup' event in which England have the chance to win a 50-over global tournament for the first time in their history, and on home turf.

The stakes are almost instantly uncomfortably high for Giles therefore, with the possible reward of a world final on his home ground at Edgbaston in late June if he and his new charges can get everything right at the first time of asking.

It is just as well then that, after a 3-2 ODI defeat in India which compares favourably with England's previous 50-over hammerings there, Giles believes he has already learned plenty.

"I suppose I feel a little more comfortable," he said, offered a moment to reflect on events in India before preparation begins in earnest for next Monday's first Twenty20 warm-up against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei.

"It was obviously very new going in. I knew most of the guys through being a selector, and even playing with some of them...but being head coach is different, and India is a very different experience."

Seamer Steven Finn and off-spinner James Tredwell were England's most obvious 'winners' with the ball in Giles' first series - in the absence of regulars James Anderson, Broad and Graeme Swann.

Broad is hoping to prove himself fully recovered from the heel injury which interrupted his part in the successful Test tour of India before Christmas, and Anderson and Swann will be back for the ODI series here. For Giles, the first task is to ensure he and Broad foster a mutual understanding.

"This is the first time working with Broady, and about half-a-dozen new players coming into this squad - plus new coaches - so the way this winter's worked out, with two months on the road, has been really good.

"It gives me a good chance to look at a lot of players, in two forms of the game, and see where we are."

He has been impressed already by young Yorkshire batsman Joe Root, but must be sure he has properly assessed several others too in time to select the best 15 for the Champions Trophy.

Is it not then all just a little too hectic a timetable for such a high-profile event, too much to ask maybe for Giles to have everything in order so soon?

The man himself thinks not, reasoning that he inherited a talented team in the first place under Alastair Cook's 50-over captaincy: "No, because the team when I took over was in a pretty good state - I think we were number one in the world."

Giles has precious little time on his side nonetheless, but knows he cannot afford to be stargazing about next summer with still more pressing matters to attend to in the here and now.

"The Champions Trophy is obviously a major tournament for us, particularly being in England," he said.

"But before that we have Twenty20 here, and I've not coached any Twenty20 cricket with this side.

"So it's important Broady and I get to know each other really well over this next period, and we plan towards both forms of the game."

After an acceptable outcome in India, many will be expecting England to beat New Zealand comfortably.

Giles is well aware of that, but too canny to take for granted success against capable hosts with the likes of captain Brendon McCullum and the returning Ross Taylor on their side. "We're looking forward to New Zealand.

"We've had a great time in India - shame not to win that one-day series - but we're ready for the challenge here.

"Expectation is always there...but we're not silly. This (New Zealand) side will be difficult to beat on their home turf.

"It will be tough. Any side that goes to South Africa and beats them in one-day cricket is going to be tough in any (limited-overs) format."

:: Broad today came through his first outdoor bowling session since having to leave England's Test tour of India last month.

Watched by Giles and bowling coach David Saker, he completed five overs off his full run on the second square at Auckland's Eden Park.