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

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