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Giles prepares the carrot and stick, but not the wand

Ashley Giles has delivered the manifesto he hopes will see him named England's new head coach next month, insisting he is tough enough to oversee a daunting rebuilding process.

Giles, who has been in charge of the limited-overs side for over a year, is the strong favourite to take over as Andy Flower's permanent replacement across all three formats.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board opted against a straightforward coronation when Flower headed for a new backroom job, meaning Giles still has a case to make.

An early exit from the World Twenty20 - confirmed by Saturday's three-run defeat to South Africa - will not have helped the cause, but with pre-tournament expectations starting low, it will hardly scupper his chances either.

Instead, Giles will be judged by his future plans for a team that has lost not just the all-consuming influence of Flower, but also the retired Graeme Swann and the sacked Kevin Pietersen. Big calls must be made and Giles, a 2005 Ashes winner who played 54 Tests for his country, insists he is the man to make them.

Unflinchingly polite and a warmer figure than the steely-eyed Flower, Giles has been criticised as being 'too nice' for the top job, but he believes that to be a misconception.

"Others will make the decision on whether I'm the man to do the job, there'll be a lot said on what I can and can't do, whether I'm tough enough or too soft," he said. "But I've been in coaching for seven years now and I've had to make some difficult decisions during those times.

"At Warwickshire I had to let players go who I'd played with. If I don't make tough decisions as a boss, I know that people above will make tough decisions on me. I have to make the right calls for the team, and of course I'm prepared to do that. I'm not trying to please anyone or keep the guys happy.

"It is going to need a bit of carrot and stick. You may need to give them a cuddle, which you may think I'm just good at, but occasionally you need a kick up the backside if we're not doing the right stuff, and there's going to be plenty of that.

"There's a time to be prescriptive, when teams are rebuilding, and there's a time for freedom. You have to strike a balance."

Giles' main rivals for the post are reportedly candidates from within the county game, with Flower's predecessor Peter Moores, now with Lancashire, and Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell still in the frame.

More high-profile figures on the international stage, including former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten and Australian Tom Moody, have distanced themselves from the role in preference for well-paid commissions in the Indian and Caribbean Premier Leagues.

But if there was any sense that the job was more trouble than it is worth, Giles quickly dismissed them as he spoke of his plans to restore pride in the shirt. "It's a big job and I'd love to do it," the former spinnner admitted. "We are all disappointed with where the team is. Losing games of cricket is not fun, losing series and getting knocked out of World Cups is not fun.

"We are here to build and we try to do that every day. Going forward we have to work incredibly hard and be better in a lot of departments than we are.

"We have to better our position across the board, skills, fielding, fitness. That will take time. If you guys are looking for a quick fix or for a magician to come in with a wand then that ain't going to happen."

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