The Ashes 2013-14 December 29, 2013

Don't scapegoat Flower - Strauss

27

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cyril_Knight on December 30, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Strauss is right Flower is the best man for the job - but only if he adapts, the same way he has done in the past. It is clear to all that England have become too reliant on him and his army of analysts. Australia have adapted under Lehmann, they no longer focus on stats and plans, but more on natural instinct and natural ability. England do not do this any more, they have done under Flower previously though.

    England over-plan and over-analyse to the extent that any change to plans takes too long. We have seen examples in all four tests where England have been on top, but never forced home that advantage. They play to a "percentage" defined by Flower whereby they are happy before a job is complete. Therefore they struggle to bowl out sides when clearly on top. This has been obvious under Flower all through 2013.

  • 200ondebut on December 30, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Sometimes you need a bit of a shake up - although it is difficult to know where to start.

    The one main area we have struggled is batting - and the problems seem to correspond with Gooch's reign as batting coach. The players do not seem to be technically flawed - they just seem to making the wrong decisions. This seems to smack of over coaching - instead of letting the subconscious mind take over, they seem to be thinking too hard about what they are doing.

    There are two types of player - the technician and the artist. The technician is all about technique whereas the artist is all about going with the moment and feeling free (or as is sometime vulgarly called - expressing yourself). If you try and teach an artist to be a technician you get failure (Seve a classic example) and vice versa.

    I suspect that Gooch has just one way - and this is not working with the majority of the players. He is coaching them out of form.

  • on December 30, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    There's probably a PhD waiting to be done into how a side can be number one and then fail against Pakistan, struggle against New Zealand, win against the ozzies in Oz, against India in India, win 3-0 against the Ozzies in the UK and then look down the barrel of a 5-0 defeat for the second time in 7 years. Something SERIOUSLY has to be wrong - how inconsistent is that?

    Flower and Cook are the best people. Like it or not, Prior is probably the best wikkie we have right now, maybe in the Sri Lanka series he will come around.

    The BIGGEST problem is the maiden-dot syndrome. Time and time again (see NZ series, then the Oz series, and the Pakistan series), as soon as a team threaded together a series of dots and maidens, the batsmen start panicking and falling apart. As soon as a wicket falls, they don't know how to climb out of the hole....

    No answers 'fraid but plenty to think about.....

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    It is about time the players start to look at themselves. It is blatantly obvious they are the one to be blamed for current debacle. It is painful to see how easily Aussies have torn the fabric of the English team in to pieces. And how easily English players have scummed to Aussies strategy and pressure. The players have to look in to the mirror and respond or leave.

  • satishchandar on December 30, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    I think blaming Andy for losses would be too poor. May be, ECB need not renew his contract as the team looks to be in a set pattern under Andy. You can replace him for reaching saturation point but not based on the result of the Ashes. Andy instilled lots of professionalism into the English cricket setup. ECB should look to find someone of similar standard to replace Andy.

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Questions really need to be asked about the selection committee. Strauss has been retired for just over a year and three people have been tried in the opening slot, none with great success; Woakes and Kerrigan were selected for the final Test of the summer, with knowledge that Kerrigan can be taken apart, and weren't selected for the Ashes tour (Woakes didn't even make the EPP tour); three giants were selected for the tour, two of whom were out of form, Tremlett was selected for the first Test, was mediocre but better than Anderson and promptly dropped for the rest of the series, the others haven't got a look in; they have yet to really replace Collingwood, though Stokes may do that. I don't expect Andy Flower to know every player in England in detail, but members of the selection committee should and it doesn't look like they do.

  • on December 30, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Cook has to take some blame as captain. Some of his captaincy has been at best, poor, at worst tactically inept. An examaple would be when he let Australia put on forty runs for their last wicket. He either told or let his quick bowlers bowl short without a third man where at least 25 runs went. He then put on Monty who has always been useless when batsmen are after him, his sole answer is to bowl quicker and flatter. Cook just doesn't seem to have a flair for captaincy.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 30, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I think if Flower wants to continue, he should be allowed to. Id change 2 or 3 players only from the current side with a view towards the future. Getting Paul Collingwood into the coaching setup wouldnt be a bad thing either.

  • dalboy12 on December 30, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Just cos change is needed doesn't mean Flower has to go. The question is does he have the ability to admit faults and change the way he operates. Some people do and some don't.

  • on December 30, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    Andy has done great job for england and he deserve better treatment because he just won ashes 3 months ago in Eng. Under Andy eng won first WC ever in 2010.

    Andy is by far the best coach in whole world. i believe that england team is just exhausted from hectic schedule and need two to three months rest and then they will bounce back.

  • Cyril_Knight on December 30, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Strauss is right Flower is the best man for the job - but only if he adapts, the same way he has done in the past. It is clear to all that England have become too reliant on him and his army of analysts. Australia have adapted under Lehmann, they no longer focus on stats and plans, but more on natural instinct and natural ability. England do not do this any more, they have done under Flower previously though.

    England over-plan and over-analyse to the extent that any change to plans takes too long. We have seen examples in all four tests where England have been on top, but never forced home that advantage. They play to a "percentage" defined by Flower whereby they are happy before a job is complete. Therefore they struggle to bowl out sides when clearly on top. This has been obvious under Flower all through 2013.

  • 200ondebut on December 30, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Sometimes you need a bit of a shake up - although it is difficult to know where to start.

    The one main area we have struggled is batting - and the problems seem to correspond with Gooch's reign as batting coach. The players do not seem to be technically flawed - they just seem to making the wrong decisions. This seems to smack of over coaching - instead of letting the subconscious mind take over, they seem to be thinking too hard about what they are doing.

    There are two types of player - the technician and the artist. The technician is all about technique whereas the artist is all about going with the moment and feeling free (or as is sometime vulgarly called - expressing yourself). If you try and teach an artist to be a technician you get failure (Seve a classic example) and vice versa.

    I suspect that Gooch has just one way - and this is not working with the majority of the players. He is coaching them out of form.

  • on December 30, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    There's probably a PhD waiting to be done into how a side can be number one and then fail against Pakistan, struggle against New Zealand, win against the ozzies in Oz, against India in India, win 3-0 against the Ozzies in the UK and then look down the barrel of a 5-0 defeat for the second time in 7 years. Something SERIOUSLY has to be wrong - how inconsistent is that?

    Flower and Cook are the best people. Like it or not, Prior is probably the best wikkie we have right now, maybe in the Sri Lanka series he will come around.

    The BIGGEST problem is the maiden-dot syndrome. Time and time again (see NZ series, then the Oz series, and the Pakistan series), as soon as a team threaded together a series of dots and maidens, the batsmen start panicking and falling apart. As soon as a wicket falls, they don't know how to climb out of the hole....

    No answers 'fraid but plenty to think about.....

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    It is about time the players start to look at themselves. It is blatantly obvious they are the one to be blamed for current debacle. It is painful to see how easily Aussies have torn the fabric of the English team in to pieces. And how easily English players have scummed to Aussies strategy and pressure. The players have to look in to the mirror and respond or leave.

  • satishchandar on December 30, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    I think blaming Andy for losses would be too poor. May be, ECB need not renew his contract as the team looks to be in a set pattern under Andy. You can replace him for reaching saturation point but not based on the result of the Ashes. Andy instilled lots of professionalism into the English cricket setup. ECB should look to find someone of similar standard to replace Andy.

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Questions really need to be asked about the selection committee. Strauss has been retired for just over a year and three people have been tried in the opening slot, none with great success; Woakes and Kerrigan were selected for the final Test of the summer, with knowledge that Kerrigan can be taken apart, and weren't selected for the Ashes tour (Woakes didn't even make the EPP tour); three giants were selected for the tour, two of whom were out of form, Tremlett was selected for the first Test, was mediocre but better than Anderson and promptly dropped for the rest of the series, the others haven't got a look in; they have yet to really replace Collingwood, though Stokes may do that. I don't expect Andy Flower to know every player in England in detail, but members of the selection committee should and it doesn't look like they do.

  • on December 30, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Cook has to take some blame as captain. Some of his captaincy has been at best, poor, at worst tactically inept. An examaple would be when he let Australia put on forty runs for their last wicket. He either told or let his quick bowlers bowl short without a third man where at least 25 runs went. He then put on Monty who has always been useless when batsmen are after him, his sole answer is to bowl quicker and flatter. Cook just doesn't seem to have a flair for captaincy.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 30, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I think if Flower wants to continue, he should be allowed to. Id change 2 or 3 players only from the current side with a view towards the future. Getting Paul Collingwood into the coaching setup wouldnt be a bad thing either.

  • dalboy12 on December 30, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Just cos change is needed doesn't mean Flower has to go. The question is does he have the ability to admit faults and change the way he operates. Some people do and some don't.

  • on December 30, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    Andy has done great job for england and he deserve better treatment because he just won ashes 3 months ago in Eng. Under Andy eng won first WC ever in 2010.

    Andy is by far the best coach in whole world. i believe that england team is just exhausted from hectic schedule and need two to three months rest and then they will bounce back.

  • on December 30, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Clavers so what ? We are not worried about your bowling please do not take personal issues to this forum.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on December 29, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    @Clavers - are you 6.2ft plus by any chance? ... that'd be why eng already have 3 in the trophy case !!

  • PACERONE on December 29, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    I believe you Clavers...Maybe it is a loss for England that you did not get to bowl.Fidel Edwards was seen When the team was winning he received all the praise,now in their losing streak he should be held accountable.He cannot go running to the umpires office or the third umpire to intimidate them any more.

  • ballsintherightareas on December 29, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    Agree with Mr Strauss - sacking good people just for the sake of appearing to be taking action is counter-productive. If there is a better alternative, then fine, but not just for the sake of it.

  • on December 29, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    Up until recently, Flower was known as 'Team Director' as opposed to 'Coach'. And now, after a 4-0 thrashing, in every article I've read, journalists are referring to him simply as 'The Coach'! He's on his way out isn't he, even if Strauss thinks he should stay? In my opinion Flower should quit as coach and Cook as captain and that can be the only logical way forward for the new English Test Team.

  • Rexton87 on December 29, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    @bobmartin, you beauty you have summed this all beautifully. These 'managers' deludes themselves and everyone else and will do everything to prevent their mask from slipping, but it has now.

  • on December 29, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Everyone has skills, but can they combine skills and take the best out in a serious problem situation? Losing 4-0 is not the problem, the issue is ENG never seem to learn anything as the four defeats came one by one. That's where Flower seems obsolete. KP could have batted few 3 down to protect middle order, Bell could have gone at 3. What's Finn doing? Is he a worse option even after 3-0? Why such a few bouncers from ENG bowlers when they know the Aussies got them out n injured in 8 innings in the series with bouncers? What was flowers input into field placing? What's your home work on Haddin? He scores little against spinners but you kept bowling fast at him! Flower should GO!

  • Diaz54 on December 29, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Every body has sell by date. Flower included. Team needs a change. This series by the way is not the first defeat. Remember Abu Dhabi...3-0 only 2 years ago.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 29, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    The best thing Flower did was divide the Test and ODI roles. This is no time for knee jerk reactions but a time for reason and quiet deliberation. If he wants to carry on and can adapt to new needs slightly-we need plans B,C,D too-he can stay. He is not an ODI coach and never was but Tests are his speciality. Above all things though the players need to find within a burning desire to do well and be inspired. And why have we gone so slow in the face of disasters? It has been painful.

  • bobmartin on December 29, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    It's not all Flower's fault.. it's a collective thing... There are too many hangers-on.. A coach for this .. a coach for that.. and a coach for just about anything you can name... plus doctors... masseurs.. psychologists.. analysts....dieticians....and all the other odds and sods who hang around.. add to that lot .. game plans and strategies...... and the system is just too top heavy.. There are more "backroom staff" than there are players. Like the malaise engulfing too much of Britain these days...there are too many managers. and not enough workers......It worked for a while.. but then as always happens when there are too many bosses...it's stifled creativity and natural ability... That's the problem...

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Nonsense Strauss. Have some objectivity please

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 29, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    @clavers are you in the Barmy Army lol!?

  • Padmore on December 29, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    @Clavers not wanting to offend but do you have supporting evidence? or is this just more "Team Australia propaganda"? I only have your say-so.

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    How is that relevant?

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @clavers: are you willing to reveal your real name sir so that we are able to verify your story? If not, then your statement is simply a groundless assertion.

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    You'd have probably bowled them out !

  • Clavers on December 29, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    I traveled 500km to participate as a net bowler in two England practice sessions and didn't get to bowl a single ball in either session. I have no sympathy for Andy Flower's predicament.

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  • Clavers on December 29, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    I traveled 500km to participate as a net bowler in two England practice sessions and didn't get to bowl a single ball in either session. I have no sympathy for Andy Flower's predicament.

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    You'd have probably bowled them out !

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @clavers: are you willing to reveal your real name sir so that we are able to verify your story? If not, then your statement is simply a groundless assertion.

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    How is that relevant?

  • Padmore on December 29, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    @Clavers not wanting to offend but do you have supporting evidence? or is this just more "Team Australia propaganda"? I only have your say-so.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 29, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    @clavers are you in the Barmy Army lol!?

  • on December 29, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Nonsense Strauss. Have some objectivity please

  • bobmartin on December 29, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    It's not all Flower's fault.. it's a collective thing... There are too many hangers-on.. A coach for this .. a coach for that.. and a coach for just about anything you can name... plus doctors... masseurs.. psychologists.. analysts....dieticians....and all the other odds and sods who hang around.. add to that lot .. game plans and strategies...... and the system is just too top heavy.. There are more "backroom staff" than there are players. Like the malaise engulfing too much of Britain these days...there are too many managers. and not enough workers......It worked for a while.. but then as always happens when there are too many bosses...it's stifled creativity and natural ability... That's the problem...

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 29, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    The best thing Flower did was divide the Test and ODI roles. This is no time for knee jerk reactions but a time for reason and quiet deliberation. If he wants to carry on and can adapt to new needs slightly-we need plans B,C,D too-he can stay. He is not an ODI coach and never was but Tests are his speciality. Above all things though the players need to find within a burning desire to do well and be inspired. And why have we gone so slow in the face of disasters? It has been painful.

  • Diaz54 on December 29, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Every body has sell by date. Flower included. Team needs a change. This series by the way is not the first defeat. Remember Abu Dhabi...3-0 only 2 years ago.