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England role was unsustainable says Flower

George Dobell in Mumbai

November 28, 2012

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Andy Flower discusses England's tour to Sri Lanka ahead of the tour party flying out, London, March 10, 2012
Andy Flower has spent around 60% of nights away from his family and the situation was not about to get any easier for at least eight years © Getty Images
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Andy Flower, who has relinquished his day-to-day involvement with England's one-day side, has admitted that he found the conflicting demands of his coaching role "unsustainable" as he agonised over his need to contribute to a family life with his wife and three young children.

Flower, according to an estimate from England's managing director of cricket, Hugh Morris, has spent around 60% of his life away from home over the last few years - with no prospect that if he had maintained both roles the burden would ease for at least the next eight years.

Flower, the England coach since early 2008, will remain as England's team director with responsibility for the playing strategies and preparation of the team in all formats of the game. He remains in direct charge of the Test side but will relinquish the day-to-day management of the limited-overs teams to Ashley Giles, who will step down as Warwickshire's director of cricket.

ESPNcricinfo revealed that the ECB were exploring options to ease Flower's workload and that the ODI series against India in January was a potential series where Flower could be rested, with Giles in the running for the job. This appointment confirms that intention, with Flower's next engagement the Tests leg of England's New Zealand tour in March.

"We are all aware over the last five-and-a-half years since Andy's been involved that we've enjoyed some fantastic successes," Morris said. "Over that period Andy has missed a handful of days. We all know how busy the schedule is. Andy is 44 and has three young kids and spends a hell of a lot of time away from home.

"We also know over the next eight-year period we will have a similar volume of cricket. We need a step change in order to protect our greatest assets which are our players and our team director and senior management. We aim to retain our talent over a long period of time.

"We have played as much as India, ahead of Australia and pretty much all the other full member nations. Andy has had the busiest workload, including 15 overseas tours. Sixty per cent of his life has been in a hotel room. It is not sustainable for one person to be looking after all aspects of the game."

Flower agreed that the demands of England's touring schedule were not conducive to family life. Indeed, he suggested involvement in all three formats of the game might only be sustainable for single men or those with grown-up families.

"With young families it is very hard to get that work-life balance right," Flower said. "If you were single or had a grown up family then I think it would be more possible to do all three forms of the game.

"We have talked about what the most effective coaching structure for our national side is and we're still not sure. But we believe that this might be a more efficient use of our resources. With unlimited resources and unlimited high-quality coaching staff, you might even have two separate coaching teams.

"There is a bit of unfinished business. But I hope to see Ashley Giles and Alastair Cook hoisting a trophy above their heads at some stage. I will be watching but not there on a day to day level. It is a little sad to be stepping away to be honest. But I will certainly gain in other areas of my life. I don't believe this decision will bring an erosion of my authority or influence."

Both Flower and Morris dismissed the suggestion that the appointment of a second senior coach would create confusion or undermine Flower's position. Morris insisted that, such was their confidence in Giles as a man and a coach, there had been no need to consider any other candidates.

"I don't see it as an erosion of Andy's power," Morris said. "Ultimately he is accountable for playing strategy of all three formats of the game. He remains a selector and also has responsibility for the day to day planning. He will also see some young players he wouldn't have seen before in the county scene.

"We know Ashley Giles as a person and we know him as a coach. He has been through our coaching programme over the last four years and he has done a terrific job with Warwickshire."

Flower dismissed the suggestion that he was benefitting from just the sort of rest period denied to Kevin Pietersen. The difference, Flower contended , was that Pietersen had requested that he was omitted from the ODI squad while continuing in the T20 team, while the policy of the ECB remained that players were available either for all limited-overs cricket or none of it.

"He wanted to retire from 50 overs cricket and play T20 cricket," Flower said. "That is not in line with ECB policy. So the situations are not directly comparable."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 29, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

Eng had different team for all formats, now diff coach for diff formats...

Posted by   on (November 29, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

As an Edgbastonite I am sorrry to lose "Farmer" whose management skills have brought the best out of a Warwickshire side but I suppose England must come first. A player who made the most of his perhaps limited ability at International level could be a great help to those making the step up from county cricket.

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 29, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

@Front Foot Lunge - Perhaps you too would benefit from 'widening your field of reference'. It could equally be argued that, under Flower too, England were one win away from being no 1 in all forms of cricket. This would be as superficial a view of their standing in the world as your 'worst team ever, all Flower's fault' analysis. It is hardly a failing team, nor is it the greatest ever and under neither scenario is Flower solely responsible. Love the idea of the 'one off' win with two matches still to go. If your one eyed view constitutes a wider perspective, I'll happily stay in my own little narrow world.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (November 29, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

Clarke501 - England may have beaten India by 10 wickets...and the sun has just risen from the east. Those events are undeniable but mean very little in the scheme of things. If you widen your fields of reference to be greater than "the last winning match england played" you may get a bit of perspective. England was one loss away from being the worst performing England team ever. Over the last 12 months their record has been atrocious, all under Flower. Like any low trajectory,there is an upside, and downside and a bit in the middle when you're not sure what. Well Flowers having his duties cut on the back of the worst performing 12 months. To me thats a downside, regardless of what effect a one-off win means.

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 29, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

@Baundele - You are correct that 'Flower will ultimately be removed' since I don't know any coach who can continue for ever. Your description of the England team as 'failing' is interesting - is this the same team that just beat India by 10 wickets?

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (November 29, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Fractures continue in Team England. The issue is that the politburo that runs the game favours bureaucracy over performance. More administrators does not equal better administration nor better on-field performances. We need a lean and hungry machine, not an over-bloated administration with an equally over-blown sense of entitlement. How can anyone see this as a good move is beyond me and in 5 years time when we have yet another equivalent of a 'root and branch' enquiry, the findings will point to the weighty and inefficient administration, under whose watch the ship sank by sheer weight of bureaucracy. And they will then slim down the administration and appoint a single coach to oversee all 3 formats......

Posted by Akshaythekaxk on (November 29, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

two different coaches for the two formats! next thing will be two different boards!

Posted by landl47 on (November 29, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

The position is different for a coach than for a player. Players have a limited span of years when they can play at top level; most are finished at 35 and practically all are finished (or ought to be) at 40. Flower is 44, still a young man by normal standards, but a veteran of 25 years of top level cricket as a player and coach. People need to remember that he has a life outside cricket which can't be postponed indefinitely. KP's situation was totally different; he wanted to step away from the England team in order to play more IPL. He has changed his mind on that and now wants to play for England whenever selected. Giles is a good appointment. He was a wily cricketer, as he needed to be since he was not the most talented player around, and has proved very successful as a manager, with Warwickshire winning the county championship this year. He'll do a good job and I'm sure he and Flower will work well together.

Posted by TORONTO123456 on (November 29, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

@ Baundele I'm totally agreed with you ,ECB trying to remove Andy Flower little by litlle ...............You just wait and see...................

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (November 29, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

5 years is a long time for a coach. he did great job as full time coach. T2020 WC and Ashes and #1 rank in test cricket. awesome achievement.

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