England news

Giles' coaching role eases Flower's burden

David Hopps

November 28, 2012

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Andy Flower prepares to fly to Dubai ahead of England's tour of India, London, October 25, 2012
The appointment of Giles will significantly reduce Andy Flower's touring commitments © PA Photos

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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Posted by CricketMaan 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by JG2704 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

Posted by landl47 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.

Posted by jmcilhinney 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.

Posted by jmcilhinney 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

Posted by simon_w on (November 28, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

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

Posted by SDHM 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

Posted by willsrustynuts 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?).

Posted by blenheimfs on (November 28, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

This news will send shivers down the backs of hard pressed county coaches who have a players Warwickshire might fancy.

Posted by whoster on (November 28, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

I think this is a good appointment. The shorter formats of the game are very different to Test cricket, so why not have another coach and reduce the workload on Andy Flower? As for Ashley Giles, he's helped turn Warwickshire into county champions, is respected and well-liked, and has got the job on merit. I hope people don't criticize this decision on the basis that Giles wasn't a great player. He was a tremendous servant for England as a player, has a wealth of international experience, and he's already got a successful CV in his short time as a coach. Best wishes to Ashley, and I hope he's successful in his new post.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 28, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

I think this is probably a good idea as it will give a chance to see how Giles goes with it for the future. Also if personnel are more rested-within reason- they stay less stressed. As for loyalties being divided- it's up to the players to not accord the coaches so much power but leave that with the captain,the coach rather being a facilitator for honing skills and developing strategies. The coach is useful only so long as he does not become total 'Uber Fuhrer'. I do not fall in with those who see Flower as some sort of God. I think Ashley as he has done the experience at test/ODI level could be good.

Posted by shahzaibq on (November 28, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Whether we agree with the decision or not, it clearly demonstrates one thing: ECB prioritizes Tests over shorter formats of the game. They could've kept Flower and tried to squeeze everything out of him in all formats, but chose to rest him for the shorter ones, because ECB realizes that Test cricket is where the glory is. Ashley Giles may or may not be the best candidate, but easing him into a full-time role might just pay off. For a while England had three captains, and this two coach experiment might look bad now, but eventually others might follow suit!

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 28, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

selassie-I i have not much against him. in fact when i hear of some off the spinners around who some would say are world beaters ( lyon for instance ) then giles is a world beater.its just the ecb pick a type and if you are that type then you will get on. perhaps im reading to much into it. if its just for this series then ok. i myself would have picked stewy law months ago before he was picked up by the aussies with him to be in line when flowers departs.hes a pom now and married a brit, and good cricket brain.but as they say we all have our opinion.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

Two Coaches, really? BAD, BAD idea. The bad far out-weigh the good. This will eventually cause a chasm in the England team--can you say divided loyalties. Will Giles adapt or want to adapt Flower's coaching approach; if he's not a clone of Flower this will NEVER work. It might have been a better idea to have one of Flower staff member stand in for him whenever he needed a rest. At Global ODI tournaments who takes the reins? If Giles is very successful at this and the team starts to plummet in the test rankings, what becomes of Flower then? ONE Voice, ONE Harmonious melody, ONE Team.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

No doubt that Ashley Giles will become the next England coach, just look at how successful he is with his county club.

Posted by emmersonne on (November 28, 2012, 15:32 GMT)

Well done Ashley, though I can't imagine Warwickshire are too happy about it!

Posted by ftitumir on (November 28, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

I dont think this gonna work & im surprised also. There must some conflict will happen in future. This is cricket man not a picnic., this is a team game, in a same series when you will have both test and ODI with same, then this 2 coaches may go with two different plan which can effect the team performance.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

I think its a good decision! Giles has done great job with Warwickshire. & He was always a respected personality, even though not a great player, I think we've got something to look forward to.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 28, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

No surprise at all (nos4a_n)! Ashley is a good man, well liked & trusted, very capable of doing the job of looking after England's limited-over match commitments. I assume that this means that he has resigned from his position as Director of Cricket at Warwickshire, but that hasn't been made clear. Above all, it means that Andy Flower is looking to stay England's team director for a while yet. With his focus now solely on Test cricket, this is excellent news, IMO. More & more I expect two separate squads (with minimal overlap) to evolve. Bowlers especially are not suited to chopping & changing from T20 to Test match requirements, and batsmen - unless they have an exceptional talent like KP - I think, should set their stalls out as Test or limited overs' specialists early in their careers.(Nearly) Everyone needs a focus!

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Andy should be in charge of all 3 formats because England is more successful now than before. Like Ashley Giles England will now have a very good economy rate but no wickets.

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 28, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

Good idea, i think. Split the workload a bit will help, moving toward having more seperate teams for each fromat as well. Of course some star players are good enough to play both forms - cook, KP etc.

David PK - not sure what you have against Giles, he's completley turned Warks around, I think he's the best man

Posted by nos4a2_n on (November 28, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

@davidpk, totally agree, i wud've preferred someone other than giles.

Posted by nos4a2_n on (November 28, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Honestly quite a drastic change in my opinion. Shifting workload is important but I think this comes as quite a surprise.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 28, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

i think that makes sense whether giles is the right man is another matter. flowers i hope will be the coach for the next 10 years and anything that means he has more of a family life prolongs his test career. giles i fear is been groomed to be the next england coach, the idea is right just the personal is wrong.

Posted by doosra_inventer on (November 28, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

GoodLuck Ashley...Andy really needs Rest

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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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