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Flower to groom cricket's leaders

David Hopps

March 3, 2014

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

England coach Andy Flower hopes his side improve their form from the New Zealand tour, Lord's, May 15, 2013
Andy Flower will attempt to net the next generation of leaders © Getty Images
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Andy Flower will remain part of England's coaching set-up after being appointed as technical director of elite coaching by the ECB with an accent on developing leadership skills and exploring technical innovation in coaching.

Flower stood down as England's team director after the whitewash in the Ashes series after discussions with the ECB's new MD of England cricket, Paul Downton, admitting that he did not feel the system of dual coaches for the Test and one-day formats was working.

From the outset, the ECB emphased that it was keen to retain his influence at a high level and negotiations over the scope of his new role have now been satisfactorily concluded. He will be based at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough.

The role is slightly more expansive than had initially been floated, if unofficially, with Flower mentoring England's leading coaches as well as creating a "leadership programme" designed to educate young England players about the qualities they need to undertake such a role.

There is a belief within the ECB, and also strongly held by Flower, that UK society does not automatically equip talented young people with necessary leadership skills. Flower is adamant that success at international level is dependent not just on ability but character and that England would benefit by both these aspects being consistently developed in young professionals throughout the county system.

Flower expressed delight at what he termed "a great opportunity". He said: "I am particularly excited about the chance to build and mould a leadership course which is not simply about captaincy but much more. This role offers me a chance to make a real contribution to the ability and character of England players and coaches in the years to come."

Downton also confirmed that Flower's responsibilities would also extend into researching best practice and innovation in coaching practice and technology throughout the ECB coaching set-up, an aspect of his role as team director in which he was particularly interested. If he comes into contact with county coaches and encourages consistent and ambitious standards of excellence across the 18 first-class counties, the ECB will judge the investment in his new role worthwhile.

"The role will also involve researching the World's Best Practice in Coaching and Performance, driving and implementing innovation in Coaching Practice and Technology, with and through the Fellowship of Elite Coaches and the National Cricket Performance Centre as well as recommending developments within ECB Coach Education and CPD Programmes," Downton said.

That presumably would leave the new England team director more time to remain at the coal face, committing his energies to specific tours, player relationships and assessments, motivation, and tactical planning. That has already been signalled by the ECB's decision to advertise for a head coach rather than a team director.

Downton said: "The ECB is delighted that we are able to retain a man of Andy Flower's experience and quality. His record over the last five years speaks for itself and the ECB and Andy are excited about the future.

"Not only will Andy work with both players and coaches but he will also look to enhance the relationship between the county coaches and the England set up. He will also work with Level 3 and 4 coaches in the ECB coaching structures.

"Andy will also build on the highly successful ECB Coach and Talent Development Programmes which have seen players such as Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, to name a few, graduate to England senior teams as well as work with a number of coaches from first-class counties who have been involved with the England Lions.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 23:59 GMT)

A great selection. He's the best coach England have ever had, good to keep contributing to our future success.

Posted by AnthonyNo1 on (March 4, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

This man destroyed our cricket team and sacked our best player. You only have to look at the team in the WI's to see damage his coaching has done, especially to our younger players. It will take years to repair. Now they give him another position of influence and power - another ridiculous and crazy decision by the ECB.

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 4, 2014, 21:44 GMT)

Randy oz.the silence is broken. How come you only post or make noise when aid do well. Flower led England to a long period of success. Bear in mind most of aid success is due to over 30s. Then what happens

Posted by steve48 on (March 4, 2014, 20:21 GMT)

Insightful2013; at least cricinfo published you! I have fallen foul of the editor several times for flippancy in making an otherwise Imo valid point. For example on this blog I commented that I was afraid the power being given to Flower would remove individuality in players and coaches, citing examples such as McGrath's momentum losing arc into the stumps, Marshall's height and Warne's lifestyle. In the latter example I used a word obviously deemed unacceptable in referring to his 'body fat ratio ' , which I presume is why i was not published! Does feel ultra conservative, the moderating on cricinfo, putting me off commenting in future. Which is maybe a good thing for you readers!

Posted by Insightful2013 on (March 4, 2014, 18:01 GMT)

Cricinfo why do you frequently edit my posts. This is a public forum and I carefully consider my inclusions to incite response and to illuminate. With all due respect, my profession is far more severely regulated and scrutinized, therefore I have become accustomed to carefully consider every thing I write. I think that you underestimate yours readers and they should judge posts as they see fit.

Posted by Insightful2013 on (March 4, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

Well said RandyOZ. Too right 5wombats. So true Mr. Kumar. Solnan is also scarily right. People like KP, I know there'll be disagreements with this, are so bloody easy to manage. Massive ego with emotions at the surface. It just doesn't get easier. It just goes to show how incompetent the previous managers were. You include him in decisions, incorporate some of his suggestions but establish a democratic process through votes, so his ego doesn't get bruised. Stroke the ego and you would have had a world beater every time. He so badly wanted to do well!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 4, 2014, 15:15 GMT)

There seems to me to be a great deal of management-speak or jargon to cut through here. To me, jargon is a way of dressing up language so that only the initiated really understand what it means (but do they?); it's not designed to communicate to those outside the inner sanctum - their role (that's our role, of course) is to accept that it means something very clever (and implicitly, far too clever for us) to those that dreamed it up and allow them to get on with executing their subtly-worded articulations. So, what does 'mould a leadership course' mean, exactly? A mould has a specific meaning. Everything that is put into a mould should come out the same - otherwise it isn't a mould. Is that what we want from our captains - all moulded in the the Flower shape - instantly replacable one with the next - so that we can't spot the difference? God forbid! I could pick at other bits in this windy statement-of-intent. Excited? Me? No, just confused - and more than a little sceptical.

Posted by 200ondebut on (March 4, 2014, 13:39 GMT)

Flowers success as a coach was underpinned by the brilliance of KP. Without KP standing up to the opposition time and time again, turning around lost causes, he would have been sacked years ago.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (March 4, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

@dreamliner, the problem is that players who have flair often cannot coach as they find it difficult to explain what they do. As for KP he shouldnt be anywhere near the england team ever again the guy is a complete liability, and has been for 4 years.

Posted by 5wombats on (March 4, 2014, 5:09 GMT)

Is anyone else uneasy? Flower was effective for a while - but then we all saw what happened - stored stress. Over years his methods and those of the people around him "got into the heads" of the players - with ruinous consequences. It's hard to imagine that Flower will be able to let go of the the techniques that he feels work for him - even though the evidence now clearly is that these methods don't work, or at least don't work over a length of time. I can't help thinking that all that will happen is that Flower will get into the heads of the next generation of our leaders and instill that same defensive afraid to fail mentality. England's best ever leaders were risk takers who were not afraid to fail: Brearley, Illingworth, Jardine. You might say that they had the resources and would have won anyway. Debatable. Good captaincy/leadership is about understanding and managing the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and getting into their heads. I sense Flower doesn't know this.

Posted by SOLNAN on (March 4, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

GOD help the youngsters.He could not manage one of the best cricketer in the world; what is he going to coach and teach youngsters.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 3:36 GMT)

The irony is that to develop good leaders you need to let them make decisions and Andy Flower gave the impression of being a highly intrusive coach who probably overruled captains during his tenure.

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 4, 2014, 0:07 GMT)

With the mess that England has been left in since their 5-0 drubbing at the hand of Australia (the second in less than 10 years), they should have got rid of Flower for good. Instead he is hanging a round like a bad smell, maintaining the divisions in the team.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (March 3, 2014, 23:51 GMT)

I just feel England are fixated on the guy. Yes, he had guts to stand up to the regime and is a man of certain principles, but as a coach he was shown up to be rigid, inflexible and a poor nan manager. Despite his success, which owes more to swann and Anderson finding form and feet in international cricket and to KP, cook and Trott for the runs they made, he hasn't been able to build the bench strength. Giving him control of future coaches may help with building character, but we may just end up following a template and straightjacket it for future. Not the best call, in my view.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 3, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

This doesnt sit well with me.

I like Flower as a bloke but I feel that Flower has been a big part of our decline.

He implimented the tactics etc which drew in SA , won in Aus and beat India 4-0 to become number one but seemed unable/unwilling to make changes when the tide started turning. After India at home we had a sufficient lead over SA that we weren't knocked of the top after the UAE disaster and the mediocre display in SL. Since the India home win our only decent series was in India. 3-0 vs Aus was a great result but if flattered the performances and we're now over 20 points behind SA and before we played SA at home in late summer 2012 we were ahead of them. That's some decline

Posted by Insightful2013 on (March 3, 2014, 21:44 GMT)

CodandChips, Beating the Windies , really? Ireland,Zimbabwe?, etc. Nuff said. Re Aus, a team on the wane and splintered. Series win in India quite an achievement! Except England had exceptional players at this time and had started to believe in themselves. Flower provided the catalyst to produce some of these results however his overall dodginess are detrimental to English interests. He has Flower at heart and not England. Similar to the current crop at the ECB. England needs a Wenngerish manager. Players are complicated and cricket can be bloody hard. Egos have to be managed carefully especially in a repressed nation as ours. Expression can be detrimental to us, if not Englishfied. We actually need someone to bring the beasts out, in our particular way, that won't horrify the public and our families. A la Zidane! Sorry for the neologisms. Flower needs insecure people to manage and Englishmen are not insecure. He was given a chance as is our way and now he has been sussed.

Posted by NigelW on (March 3, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

Wasn't the 'developing leadership skills' role first proposed by the Schofield report in 2007 after the last 5-0 down under? How ironic that the idea was ignored by the ECB at the time but ends up seven years later providing a sinecure for the next hapless England coach to cock-up an Ashes series! So both Pietersaen and Flower have now been richly paid-off for their inability to share a dressing room. Paul Downton still seems to think he's working in the banking indsutry!

Posted by CodandChips on (March 3, 2014, 20:13 GMT)

Good idea. Flower had great success as coach. It would be foolish to completely discard him.

Could help prepare Collingwood, Vaughan & Strauss to be coaches, since they have no real experience, but are good leaders.

@dreamliner I actually reckon if KP didnt do some of the brainless stuff he does,and didn't fall out with so many, he'd be an excellent bating coach. He appears generally good at helping others. And also he came across very well in that KP masterclass sky sports did in the Durham ashes test.

@tamperbay "I love these lofty names for jobs and institutions"- great comment.

@Insightful2013 can you provide insight on the years before. Such as Flower (with Strauss) turning around a team all out for less than 100 in the West Indies to winning ashes series and becoming number 1. Under his leadership we won the first ashes in Aus for many years, first series win in India for many, became number 1 in all formats, and won a WT20. Your insight appears pretty bad.

Posted by dreamliner on (March 3, 2014, 19:55 GMT)

Retaining KP as a batting coach will do more for England than Flower's elite coaching and directorship. We need the best to be the best, but perhaps Downton believes he can succeed using the the same people with the same influence despite in another role. Job for life.

Posted by Pyketts on (March 3, 2014, 19:27 GMT)

@tinkertinker I think it's very generous of you to call Cook a leader!

I think we shouldn't forget that Flower did do some good work with the Eng side but this just seems like a "jobs for the boys" appointment.

What is he actually doing as the comments from Giles Clarke make it seem like the role consists of various, non-measurable tasks. How many more people need to work for the ECB to find the c25 players you need for an international squad?

Given his very questionable selection of Cook as captain, and the numerous other hanger-oners from the Ashes I would question his ability to identify what a good leader is.

Posted by Ashpro79 on (March 3, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

Just what o what is going on with the ECB?!?!

Posted by Insightful2013 on (March 3, 2014, 18:10 GMT)

At best, he should be in a consultancy role. Nothing more! He should only be able to submit reports and recommendations. He proved what a disingenuous person he is. His best interest are not England's interest. A leader should be able to assess the best personnel and incorporate plans to to make that team work, for the best results. What the ECB doesn't seem to realise, is that they are representing England as well. Flower has handled things badly overall and his influence will be bad, as evidenced by the handling of the KP situation. Their overall actions reeked of a Flower type management fiasco. He should have been removed from the England set up permanently. A manager with a big ego and an insecurity complex as Flower, will always be a spanner in the works. He simply won't be able to understand players enough!

Posted by simon_w on (March 3, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

Flower is probably the best coach England have ever had -- I am very pleased to hear that the ECB are retaining his services.

Posted by geoffboyc on (March 3, 2014, 17:50 GMT)

And who is going to work on the "leadership issues" with the current England squad?

Posted by tamperbay on (March 3, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

I love these lofty names for jobs and institutions. "Technical director of elite coaching" - why not just "Coaching Director", or just remove the "elite". And the "National Cricket Performance Centre". Why can't it just be called the "National Cricket Centre" ? Or do we need these names for people to feel good?

Posted by milepost on (March 3, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

So they clean out to rebuild after complete devastation by keeping the man who brought apart the ECB and was left with ZERO respect by the payers and fans..... by keeping him? Hey that sounds like a plan lol!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

Right, Brilliant man manager that Flower is he will bring the best out of mediocre players but those with real talent will be sidelined ! I had a lot of respect for Flower but not any more.

Posted by tinkertinker on (March 3, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

If it means more leaders like cook then sounds good to me...of course i support the opposition team in the ashes.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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