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Flower stays loyal to England

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Alison Mitchell | 11:34 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Once Duncan Fletcher was appointed coach of India, there seemed little reason why Andy Flower would not continue his tenure as England Team Director.

The Zimbabwean has won successive Ashes series with England, and guided the team to a first global trophy at the World Twenty20 but still feels he has unfinished business - namely to take England to the number one spot in the Test rankings.

Flower was approached by India during the recent World Cup and was indeed tempted by the chance to work with the world champions, the chance to live in a different culture and of course the lucrative financial package.

However, Flower is a man of substance and despite his curious mind and appetite for a challenge, he made his decision to stay with England soon after returning from the sub-continent.

Flower's next job is to discuss the one-day captaincy with Andrew Strauss - photo: Getty

There has been much speculation about whether Flower's new contract would contain clauses permitting him to miss certain tours in order to reduce his workload, in the same way that a player might be rested.

I understand, however, that there is no such specific clause, nor any understanding with the England and Wales Cricket Board that there may be a need for Flower and even perhaps his assistant Richard Halsall to be rested from the odd trip.

As yet there is no plan for either of them to miss any tours, but it seems the conversation has been had, and further discussions on workload - for both players and management - will take place at a meeting today.

Rotating players is tricky; cricketers don't always like to be rested because it gives an opportunity for someone else to take their place in the side - and the paying public can also feel short changed at not seeing the top England players in action.

On the other hand, the players needed a break for both mind and body because of the sort of schedule this winter threw up.

Andrew Strauss missed the tour of Bangladesh last year in order to be fresher for the Ashes and the build-up that preceded it. The move paid off, but had the team lost to Australia down under, questions would no doubt have been asked about that decision.

Resting a coach wouldn't produce the same quandaries, but it takes a strong and immensely trustworthy management structure for a deputy to get a taste of leadership and be able to hand the reigns back a month or so later, slipping quietly back into the number two role.

Flower and Halsall have worked together in the England set up since 2007 though, when they were respectively batting and fielding coach under Peter Moores..

Their relationship seems to be built on solid ground and Flower wouldn't entertain the idea of rest if he thought it would jeopardise the team and their performances in any way.

Now that Flower's continuing services have been secured, the ECB's next task is to determine whether Andrew Strauss wants to stay on as one-day captain - a decision which could be forthcoming within the next week.

Strauss knows he will not be playing in the next World Cup in four years' time and he is not the sort of man who will want to hang around knowing he is not part of the future.

Alastair Cook would appear to be the captain-in-waiting, but is it the right time to make the transition when Cook isn't currently in the one-day team?

There is rarely a 'perfect' time for change and this may be as good a time as any for Strauss to relinquish the role and carry on working together with Flower to achieve their joint aim of England becoming the number one Test side in the world.


  • Comment number 1.

    Stability at the top is key to continued success of the team. With four years until the next ODI world cup any change should be progressive. With the current team strategy at the top of the order there is no room for Strauss and Cook in the team it seems.

    But as you mention a way of managing workloads and giving new players opportunities is key. I still believe chances in ODIs are the starting point for most test players.

  • Comment number 2.

    I disagree with the idea that if someone isn't going to be around in 4 years' time he might as well drop out now. That's no way to build and maintain a team. Let Strauss stay on while he is still making runs in this format and can lead England to success - what happened over the winter has to be taken in the context of the players' gruelling schedule.

    If Cook is seen as a future ODI captain he must be brought back into the team as soon as possible. If he doesn't succeed England must look elsewhere but he might prove everybody wrong.

  • Comment number 3.


    I agree with you, its like saying, Ryan Giggs probably wont be playing when he is 40 so he might as well stop now.....

    Striking the balance between building for the future, and getting results is a difficult one to achieve. In the situation (like a collingwood in test matches for example) where someone is in a team, getting on in terms of his age, and not really contributing to the side, then the decision to move on to give a youngster a chance to make his name in the side is a fair one. If, however, the slightly older individual is still getting good runs then I see no need to drop him. Strauss' 158 vs India showed me he still has it....

    I dont see the problem - nor do I see why Strauss would - in his continuing at the top of the order (he is still one of the best 2 opening english batsmen in ODI i believe) but relinquishing the captaincy... but this should not go to Cook, he is not an ODI opening batsman - Criteria number 1: hit through the line / over the top, something cook does not do. He cannot play spin either. Strauss traditionally has suffered in these areas too, but has developed his game sufficiently that he can score quick enough (just) in one dayers.

    My captain would be .... urm....

    Anyway, future for england is looking incredibly bright, the amount of class 18 - 22 year olds playing country cricket is phenomenal! roy, stubb, hales, taylor maynard harris etc etc etc, Im sure Ive left out a few, very encouraging!

  • Comment number 4.

    This is great news for the England cricket team. You guys should also be excited about From The Ashes movie which documents the historical turnaround at the '81 Ashes series. I just booked my ticket for the premiere and I get to participate in a Live Q&A with Botham and Willis! :)

  • Comment number 5.

    I am not yet convinced by Flower yet. Or Struass as captain. Sending Cook home before the 1day series in Australia was stupid. Cook could have played in that series and given a rest to another player. Taking Paul Collingwood in the first place was a massive mistake. Paul Collingwood has not been able to hit a ball in years and it was a complete waste of a younger players place. The experiance that player could of got for 4 years time would have been huge. Just like Cook 4 years ago. Perhaps its the selectors in which case are Struass and Flower strong enough to lead England. If Collingwood plays anymore cricket for England in any form then we are in the realm of job for the boys.

  • Comment number 6.

    Rule change (#5), have England lost a series since the two Andies were appointed? (NB In the West Indies Andy Flower was only acting coach) Compare that with England's record over the previous 3 years. 2-0 v The West Indies (h), 2-1 v Australia (h), 1-1 v South Africa (a), 2-0 v Bangladesh (a), 2-0 v Bangladesh (h), 3-1 v Pakistan (h), 3-1 v Australia (a).

    By my reckoning that is 15 wins and 4 defeats with 5 draws, or a 60% winning record.

    If that is unconvincing, then I can't wait for the two to consolidate their position this summer and become convincing.

  • Comment number 7.

    Delighted for English cricket. Andy can keep the seat warm and the trophy cabinet full until the King of Spain abdicates in exile to England.

  • Comment number 8.


    ODI skipper....Stuart Broad? Why not? Curb the temper but keep that fire burning.

  • Comment number 9.

    As for the Earl of Essex, imho, he should be given an extended run in the ODI side. Earlier points about spin and hitting through the line are valid and well-made so AC has to develop his game. But remember his 200 against Aus, 2005. Yes it was a 1st class game, but he hit the ball in the 'V', and SKW couldn't get him out. If I'm right - and I rarely am- then we have a potential skipper too.

  • Comment number 10.

    Cook & Broad should be the Capt & VC in waiting to take a chance when it comes.

    As for T20 make KP Captain with maybe Morgan as VC.

  • Comment number 11.

    #5 what more convincing do you need (see #6). Maybe if he was English you would have been convinced eee!!
    Andy has won the first international silverware for England after how many years in the wilderness, please lets be great full.

  • Comment number 12.

    The ECB have been very lucky to keep hold of coach Flower,he was wanted by the the biggest and best of the moment,India.I am also aware he has accepted a fraction of what he was offered by the BCCI in wages.
    I am really amazed at the clammer for Cook as captin.The guys record over the last two years has been woefull,bar his last tour.And may i remind you that must have been the worst Aussie bowling attack of all time.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ultimately, it the players' performance out in the middle that determines the outcome of a match; not the coach, not the selectors.

  • Comment number 14.

    Very simplistic view splendidsparrow,great coachs make great teams.Flower has made this English cricket team play some of the greatest test cricket ever this winter.Maximum credit has to go the coach who brought out such performances from his players.

  • Comment number 15.

    Erm 'greatest test cricket ever'? We beat a rubbish Aussie team. Im utterly against forgieners being involved at all in the national team and we should not forget Flower also presided over a dreadful ODI series in Australia and a frankly pathetic world cup campaign. Still,the ECB has gone this route in its wisdom and we have to get on with it but my glass in very much half empty when it comes to Mr Flower im afraid.

  • Comment number 16.

    #5 is a bit harsh on Strauss, to win the Ashes twice (and be Man of the Series in one) is certainly leading from the front.

    Maybe eventually there will 1 ODI coach, and 1 test matches coach.

  • Comment number 17.

    Andy Flower is a guy who comes across as one with his feet firmly on the ground. With such confident footwork he excelled as batsman and in recent times as leader in his job. The Gentleman's Game blossoms with men like Andy around. May his tribe increase.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 18.

    “Regaining the Ashes in 2009, and retaining them last winter, and the 2010 World Twenty20 title are obvious highlights of Flower's efforts, but there is still plenty more we want to achieve in the longer term. So keep the up the good work. I as a English Cricket fan want the England team on number 1.

  • Comment number 19.

    I love you alison! I love your passion in sport and admire the way you write and report.. unbiased and objective.

    I just hope BBC will do a documentary about Make Nose Smaller

  • Comment number 20.

    There is rarely a 'perfect' time for change and this may be as good a time as any for Strauss to relinquish the role and carry on working together with Flower to achieve their joint aim of England becoming the number one Test side in the world.

  • Comment number 21.

    Strauss and Flower have both done excellent jobs, clearly stargazing (@5) makes your mind go a bit funny! I think Strauss should stay in the job for as long as his form continues and/or he wants to. Why should a player step down just because he might not be around the the next ashes/WC etc, this is nonsense. Pick the best team and captain for today, the only caveat to that is to bring in young players alongside the older players to give a balance of experience and avoid all retiring together!


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