England news February 1, 2014

Flower offered role teaching leadership skills

Vithushan Ehantharajah

Andy Flower has been offered a new role with a prime focus upon identifying and developing leadership qualities in young England cricketers, according to the chairman of the ECB, Giles Clarke.

Discussions are already well advanced but Flower has yet to confirm that he believes the role will have enough impact to interest him.

"Andy Flower has a great deal to give English cricket," Clarke said. "I'm very confident he'll remain with us and I think he has a lot to bring us, particularly in the development of our young players.

"He has huge coaching abilities and is also a great identifier and developer of leadership in young men, and I think that's something we would all agree is something we need to develop more or and investing more in at Loughborough and in the counties as time goes on. "

Clarke, speaking at England's team base at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne the morning after England's T20 defeat in Melbourne subjected them to lost series in all three formats, remained effusive in his praise for the benefits Flower had brought to English cricket.

He hailed him as "a man of enormous integrity" and asserted that he was "the most successful coach in England's history."

He re-emphasised that Flower's decision to step down was entirely of his own choosing and arose from his belief - shared by the incoming MD of England Cricket, Paul Downton - that it was time to unify the coaching setup, across all three formats. The conclusion that the system of split coaches was not working had emerged during talks with Downton, aimed at examining Flower's key objectives and the issues English cricket was facing.

Clarke said: "Andy has been concerned that because there are players who go across formats, and of course the management team goes across formats, it's extremely important to have the same culture in the England side in terms of preparation, management, the way they approach everything and the way they all relate to one another other.

"I think since December 2012, when we decided with Andy that we would split the roles, we've learned quite a lot about what it's like dividing those roles and he felt that it was now important to bring the roles back together and it was better than way."

Clarke brushed off any notion of surprise at Flower's decision. Asked if he tried to change Flower's mind, he laughed: "When Andy Flower makes his mind up to do something, he's not the easiest of people to dissuade."

For now, Ashley Giles is the front runner to take on the Test mantle, unifying all three formats with the ODI and T20 roles he already occupies. Clarke identified Giles as a "very strong candidate" and a "valued employee of the ECB", but was also keen not to step on Downton's toes, whose job it will be to identify and acquire Flower's successor.

"Paul will conduct a proper process - there may well be other outstanding candidates who may emerge. It will be a matter for Paul and those he uses to advise him on that."

Clarke added: "With no Test cricket due to be played until June, when England host Sri Lanka, the main immediate focus is the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. Ashley is in charge of all that, anyway, and he's in charge of the West Indies, and will take charge of the side continuously, so that process is very clear. "

Clarke was also steadfast in his belief that Alastair Cook will be lead England out at Lord's as England captain, talking up the imminent future as "Cook's era".

As expected, the 5-0 Ashes whitewash was dismissed as a factor for Flower's stepping aside. It is a surprise, not least because of the manner of the defeats and the visible weariness of players who, it has been argued, had been pushed too hard, too much.

Instead, Clarke recalled the comments made by Dennis Amiss, the former England opening batsman and vice chairman of the ECB, after he and Hugh Morris had interviewed Flower for the role.

"Dennis reminded me that Andy said he reckoned it was a five year job," Clarke said. "And he's been proved absolutely right."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on February 4, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Probably Flower has some contract situation, otherwise they would have made a clean break.

    If something does not make good sense, then it is usually $ that explains the situation and cricket is no exception

  • Pundit on February 3, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    There should be no job for the boys...complete break. Remember the success comes from coach and players combination, once that goes,you have to start fresh. He should not have anything to do with developing leadership....command broad are not very good examples I am afraid! However I don't expect any changes, same guys get jobs, look at previous lot.

  • rob on February 2, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    I've got to agree with all those posters who say it's a bit silly keeping Flower around after he's resigned and a new coach takes over. .. It's a bit like getting divorced, remarrying but keeping the old wife in the granny flat. .. It can only end in more tears.

    There's a perception that Flower was captaining the team from the sidelines. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, he's a tragedy of a captain. No imagination, no killer instinct and has only one gear to call upon. .. I wouldn't be letting someone like that anywhere near my prospective captains. He'll have them clanking around like robots before you can say 'one dimensional' if you do.

    @Ajanthan Shantiratnam: Your suggestion of avoiding the tour altogether sounds like something straight out of India's play book.

    @ CaptainMeanster : I don't want to see my Aussies free of the relegation threat. If you know you can't be dropped, where's the incentive to keep improving. It's a sure fire recipe for mediocrity imo.

  • Jay on February 2, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    So umm.. Flower is technically gonna be still IN England right ? Team "director" or not. Which means more Ashes and other series defeats on the cards. I know Flower had his heyday but that's over now. The entire ECB needs an overhaul. Neither Ashley Giles nor Flower should be around the English cricket team. Keep them away from the team. The team needs new people with fresh ideas. Otherwise, expect England to lose every series from here to Kingdom Come.

  • ian on February 2, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    This looks to me like a face-saver for Andy Flower. Further, I'd argue that captains are their own men. They (proper captains - the best of a rare breed) do things in their own way. Yes, they may talk to others, pick their brains, listen carefully & then put their own stamp on any hints / ideas that they've picked up, if they think such-and-such an idea will work at a given point. If a captain knows his men, as people as much as cricketers, has the absolute belief in each member of his team and that belief is fully reciprocated by the players in actions (never trust words alone when it comes to this!) - then you have a captain that will get the best out of his resources. He will make them better players & they will make him a more astute & winning captain. The ECB does not need a captaincy coach; it's an absurd idea. Who coached Worrell, Brearley, Steve Waugh, Len Hutton, Douglas Jardine or the greatest captain England never had - Percy Fender? They were their own men. Leave it alone!

  • ultra on February 2, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    If you have removed him from his job then why not completely? If he has resigned then it should be total and he should make way for new ideas. No half measures here.

  • TARIQ on February 2, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    Bazar really,, he failed to mould Cook into his role as captain and destroy his batting at same time,, this is not a good advert for his new role,, I think ECB should let him go now,, his shelf life is expired now.. let him go.

  • Sean on February 2, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    According to Clarke on the radio this morning, Andy Flower decided that the reason England were humped 5-0 in the Ashes was because he wasn't coach of the ODI and t20 teams as well. Wow. I'm not sure which seems most absurd - that Andy Flower actually believes that, or that we should be expected to.

  • Dummy4 on February 2, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Oh , Bairstow? Not good enough as a batsman and certainly not good enough as a keeper. Swann should be ashamed of himself. Yes the players are the ones who have failed on the pitch but the management have to accept their part. They are management and in any walk of life, they would all be sacked. And PLEASE, let's not offer the job to a saffie or an Aussie!

  • Dummy4 on February 2, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Nothing changes does it? English cricket run by someone like Clarje who knows jack all about cricket. The coaching staff should be sacked not found new cosy positions. The management selections for this tour was a joke. Everyone in county cricket knew Tremlett is gone and now a medium pacer. Finn had terrible problems before he went out. Onions left out. KP doesn't play enough cricket and does want he wants. Trotts problems must have been known. Bresnan was not match fit. They didn't know who to open with Cook and he is not. Captain.

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