The Ashes 2013-14 December 29, 2013

Don't scapegoat Flower - Strauss

Andrew Strauss, whose alliance with Andy Flower was at the heart of England's success, has insisted he remains the best coach available and that he should not be made a scapegoat for a humiliating Ashes series.

Flower's role has been brought into question after England's eight-wicket defeat at the MCG left them facing the possibility of a whitewash if they lose in Sydney. The last time that happened, seven years ago, Duncan Fletcher clung on as coach for a disastrous World Cup challenge before resigning three months later.

Strauss, whose retirement has coincided with England's steady decline, remains convinced that England should do everything to convince Flower to remain.

"Andy Flower is one of the great coaches in world cricket," Strauss told Sky Sports. If he is not the man to take England forward I don't know who is.

"The only question is whether he has the hunger and the energy to continue in the job. He is not a guy to give up easily. He will be hurting as much as anybody.

"That is the territory you enter at 4-0 down. You get scapegoated."

Darren Lehmann, the Australian coach whose adventurous and aggressive style has left England in a state of tactical confusion, also give strong support to his vanquished opponent.

"It is a very stressful job, but he is a very good coach and he has a done a fantastic job for England over a period of time," Lehmann said. "I am sure he will come up with solutions.

"We regard their structure very highly and we may have copied it in some shape or form."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo