Andy Flower: Gary Kirsten for England, says Michael Vaughan

Outgoing England coach Andy Flower had reached his "sell-by date" and Gary Kirsten should take over from him, says former captain Michael Vaughan.

Flower ended his five-year reign on Friday in the wake of England's 5-0 Ashes series whitewash in Australia.

Kirsten took India and his native South Africa to the top of the Test rankings and won the 2011 World Cup with India.

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"Gary Kirsten has had great success with India and his native South Africa.

"However, I have seen comments from him saying that he wants to stay at home for 70% of his time, which would be impossible were he to become England coach.

"There will be no shortage of interest in the vacancy, though. In terms of profile, resources, prestige and wages, England coach is a plum job.

"Whoever takes it will have some act to follow."

"A change will be good for the team," Vaughan told BBC Sport. "Kirsten has been the best coach of this era."

Flower led England to three successive Ashes series, including last year's 3-0 home triumph, before they were humiliated in the return series down under.

Vaughan, who captained England in 2005 as they regained the urn for the first time in 18 years, believes things had gone stale, with players becoming "robotic" under the 45-year-old Zimbabwean's hard-line approach.

"Coaches generally have five or six years and move on and I think Andy Flower has just come to the end of his sell-by date," he explained.

"I did not feel they were expressing their talents enough, or enjoying the game enough, even when they were winning last summer.

"I felt there was vulnerability in the team - they almost looked to me that they got so scared of Andy Flower. That is a concern I guess; the players looked a little robotic.

"The best players in the world react to what happens on the pitch. They don't get told what will happen and then react. I felt that England in Australia were just being sent out to play a certain brand rather than instinctively playing."

'It was 100% Andy's decision'

Andy Flower

Flower's brother and former Zimbabwe team-mate Grant told BBC Sport: "Andrew had been thinking about this for the last few weeks and it was 100% his decision to move on.

"When I spoke to him today, he seemed a lot more relaxed than he was in Australia.

"Like any high-pressure job it does wear you down. He's had a lot of successes, but also being away from the family on long tours was a heavy burden and that was a big factor in his decision.

"Everyone needs a change from time to time."

Ashley Giles, England's one-day and Twenty20 coach, is the favourite to succeed Flower, with former South Africa opener Kirsten, ex-Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody and newly-appointed Surrey coach Graham Ford among the other contenders.

Kirsten helped South Africa depose England at the top of the Test rankings with a 2-0 series victory in 2012 and currently coaches the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

Vaughan, who ruled himself out of the job, thinks Kirsten has the credentials to take England forward, but would like to see his former international team-mates Giles and Paul Collingwood installed as assistants.

"Kirsten has been the best in the business these last 10 years," said Vaughan.

"Sachin Tendulkar told me he is the best coach he has ever worked with - a bit of a wizard, the perfect kind of person to have around a group to get them playing and expressing their talent.

"Give him the job for the World Cup and the next Ashes series and have the two English coaches learning from the best."

Vaughan said one of the biggest challenges for England's next coach would be handling Kevin Pietersen.

Earlier this month, Flower denied he had issued an ultimatum that he would leave unless the batsman was dropped.

"I have the feeling Kevin Pietersen just needs managing," said Vaughan. "Whoever takes on the position of England director I would think he would want to come in with a clean slate.

"England need to make sure they arrive at the Twenty20 World Cup [in Bangladesh in March] with their best players, and Kevin Pietersen is certainly one of them."