England news November 28, 2012

Giles' coaching role eases Flower's burden


Ashley Giles, Warwickshire's director of cricket, has been appointed the head coach of England's ODI and T20 teams, paving the way for Andy Flower to take significant breaks from touring.

Flower, who took over as England team director in April 2009, will continue to be have overall accountability for England cricket and tour with the England Test side but he will no longer be responsible for the day to day leadership of the ODI and T20 teams, with Giles assuming that role and being accountable to Flower. Giles will also remain as an England selector.

Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, said that Flower's abandonment of his one-day role was necessary to achieve "a realistic and sustainable work-life balance".

It remains to be seen whether the Professional Cricketers' Association will now argue in impending negotiations on the small print of England's new central contracts that this work-life balance should apply to players as well as coaches, a certain Kevin Pietersen being an easy point of reference.

Giles travelled to India as England's selector on tour and is regarded within the ECB as a natural successor to Flower. His appointment sees him leave his post at Warwickshire, whom he guided to the County Championship last season.

His first task will be to halt England's dreadful run of ODI results in India. They have lost 12 and tied one of the last 13 matches, with the previous victory coming back in 2006.

Giles, back at his beloved Edgbaston, where he has served both as player and coach for the past 20 years, said that he had first been approached about a potential coaching role in India three weeks ago.

"There was a possibility of me taking the one-day squad to India after Christmas. Then it developed to if there was a restructuring would I be interested and the answer was 'yes'. I have never hidden the ambition to coach internationally.

"There was obviously a concern about the workload for the head coach and, if they split the roles and there was restructuring, what the roles and responsibilities would look like. There were things that could come up - selection, the rest and rotation policy and results. It was about getting your head around what it would look like as a split role."

Giles captured a prevailing mood among coaches when he predicted that the high level of international cricket makes shared coaching roles inevitable.

"It's started with captains, we are now seeing it with players - the rest and rotation of players is going to be important for keeping them fit and fresh for the really big tournaments - and now it's coaches.

"Andy has been a brilliant coach and rather than burning out your best people and then get rid of them you need to keep them as long as you can and this structure allows you to do that.

"This could be the new edge that we need. It's important that we and Andy work closely together. Andy ultimately is the boss and I will report to him, but we will work closely on strategy and selection.

"It definitely allows you much more time to plan properly for series, to spend time with the analysts and some of the one-day players and watch one-day cricket domestically and see young guys coming through as well as the importance of the work-life balance for the head coach."

"There will be times when we have disagreements but we have disagreements in a room and we get over then very quickly."

Giles has long been identified within the ECB as a candidate for a leading coaching role. As a player he was highly valued by one captain, Michael Vaughan, in particular, and his reputation for even-handedness ensured that his dual role of selector and Warwickshire coach never brought the qualms which it might have done in different hands.

"I hope I'm a better coach and a lot of that is through experience: consistently talking about cricket, working with people, managing different individuals, managing your management team, working with your boss, budgets and committees," he said. "I hope I have been a decent sponge. I like to suck all that stuff up.

"I'm pretty well-structured, I think I'm fair, I'm straight with people if I think they are out of line I tell them."

He is not unduly perturbed by the fact that he has been a team mate of several players in the England side. "There are still people I have played with, but I have been retired six years now. I hope people don't think I am going to take it easy on them because I have played with them.

"I suppose when I first came to Warwickshire as coach because I was an old player some people tried to take the mick a bit or steal a yard but if you are consistently clear with what the message is there is only one way to go."

A Championship title for Warwickshire will do no harm to his authority. Giles' four-day sides have played consistent, pragmatic, disciplined cricket. They lost the title to Lancashire only in the last hour of the season in 2011 and won handsomely a year later. "I guess it's good for the CV and good the confidence," he said. But it is in the shorter game where he must now make an impact."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sriram on November 30, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    I like this idea of diff coaches for diff format...just like shorter format needs diff skills in players so does coaching..i think it wiil work..it also gives time to someone like Giles to create his own environment for shorter format..so thumbs up for trying it. What i would also like to see is direct communication between coach and capt introudces in T20 just like Hansie and Bob tried it out..that will bring a new dimension to T20..and I want ODI to be reduced to 40 over to bring back crowds.

  • Dummy4 on November 29, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    Giles, like any human would, will want to be successful at this; and as Giles evaluate the players, his might vastly differ from that of Flowers and here is where we start heading down the wrong road. Situation like this will undoubtedly come up. Let's say for instance Giles sees player X as strictly a limited overs player and uses him as such, then hands him back to Flower who sees player X as an integral part of his test setup tired and ineffective or hurt. ODI cricket can cause you to develop bad habits that just can't be carried over in Test. If you don't think that one will affect the other, then think again. Moreover, Giles will be advising players to bowl this much over, bowl this way, bat this way, bat in this position... and they may or may not like it and refer to how Flower may have approached it. The players may prefer one approach to the other and this is where the players then start gravitating to one coach over the other and the soup begins to bubble.

  • Dummy4 on November 29, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    I am amused at how many people think this has a chance of remotely working. The only way this can conceivably work is if you had two entirely different teams, of different players for the most part. Giles isn't stupid who would take a job of such magnitude only to be a figurehead? Failure at this level could ruin all his success at Warwickshire and every chance at being England coach in the future at all forms of the game, so he must have some level of autonomy with the team. Giles in no way cannot be an antagonist to Flower. They must maintain similar philosophy, the decision making has to be a collaborative effort otherwise it is doomed to fail and the ECB will eventually trash the two coach idea for this is virtually an impossible endeavor.

  • John on November 29, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Seems sad that KP is not playing in the T20 side esp as he is such a hit with the Indian fans and has been rested (with his exit) a fair bit already. Does Jade's inclusion in the T20 squad , coupled with KP's omission mean that the selectors are not taking the format at all seriously. I'm wondering if they're overdoing the resting. Also I'd say Jos should take the gloves as he's a more natural WK and Jonny is probably a better outfielder. Seems strange that they fancy Craig in the ODIs but not the T20s? Also I'd like to see Wright in the ODI squad. He was head and shoulders above all our batsmen in the T20wc and surely deserves a chance. Why not give Trott a rest. Can see why Swann is rested although he'll be a big loss. Could Monty not be given a try? I know he can't bat or field but still PS - Actually if Giles is coach , I'm surprised he's not put Woakes in the set up

  • John on November 29, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Giles is a former test player who has done an outstanding job as a coach. Who could be better qualified to take on this necessary role? As for the PCA suggesting that the same rules apply to players, I am completely in agreement. If playing for England full-time in all 3 formats under a central contract is too much (and it might very well be, especially for older players with families) then they should be given time off to rest and be with their wives and children. Of course, that means they should NOT be playing in the IPL or any other mercenary competition. To claim to need family time and then spend it playing overseas for money is total hypocrisy. I doubt very much if the PCA will be raising that issue in the negotiations.

  • John on November 29, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    I can't say for sure that this plan will work but a lot o people seem to be negative just for the sake of it. For one thing, it specifically states that Giles is still answerable to Flower. Secondly, why would it be a problem if Giles wants to adopt a different plan to Flower? How often do we say that limited-overs cricket is a different kettle of fish to Test cricket? Surely you specifically need a different plan for each, even if you do have the same coach. People said that the three-captain approach wouldn't work either but, as far as I can tell, there were no specific issues with it. As long as Flower can let go enough to let Giles coach then it should not be an issue from that perspective. Whether or not Giles coaches well is a completely different issue.

  • John on November 29, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    @spliffbarmassive on (November 28 2012, 18:31 PM GMT), um, no. Andy Flower is no longer coach of either the ODI or T20 team and is just coaching the Test team, so it would be exactly the same rule for him as for KP. Regardless, it's rather stupid to try to compare the roles of the coach and a player directly

  • Simon on November 28, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    @blenheimfs: I don't think I follow - could you explain that remark for me?

  • Samuel on November 28, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    The succession plan is beginning to take shape then. I think it's a good idea in the short-term, but long term it signals perhaps Flower is beginning to think about stepping down and is laying the groundwork for his successor. He's coming up on 4 years constantly on the road, making plans, managing players and the like, and it has to be taking its toll. If the coaches have vastly different approaches and philosophies, it will end up leading to confusion and perhaps even tension. But let's give it a shot

  • Will on November 28, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    One rule for AF another for KP.

    This is a really bad idea. If we are to split responsibilities I think that AF is more suited to leading the ODI squad (not picking Monty, what was that all about?).

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