England news August 15, 2011

Flower to miss Ireland game

ESPNcricinfo staff

Andy Flower will miss his first match since taking over as England team director when he sits out the one-day international against Ireland in Dublin. The match takes place three days after the final Test against India, at The Oval, and Richard Halsall, the fielding coach, will be in charge of the team.

When Flower signed his new deal with the ECB in May it was widely believed that the subject of him taking a break from the demands of the job was considered although nothing was written into the contract. In many ways Flower's role is more intense than the players' because he has to plot and plan for the next challenge and is involved with all three formats.

The only time Flower has missed any of England's cricket since taking the top job were the second and third days of the first Test against Australia, at Brisbane, when he underwent surgery to remove a melanoma from below his right eye. Halsall took charge of the team in Flower's absence which gave a clear indication of the contingency plans in place.

Flower will rejoin the squad ahead of the Twenty20 international against India, at Old Trafford, on August 31 which is then followed by five one-day internationals. Two additional Twenty20s have now been added to the end of the season against West Indies, to help fulfil contractual obligations following the loss of the Stanford games, before the team fly to India for a one-day series in early October.

England then have their longest break of recent times before Christmas when they aren't in action during November and December. However, after the festive season the demands increase again with a full tour against Pakistan in UAE followed by a short series in Sri Lanka. It remains to be seen whether Flower fits in any further breaks before the start of another full summer in 2012.