The Ashes 2009

Buchanan meets with Flower

Alex Brown in Birmingham

June 29, 2009

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John Buchanan shows his delight at Australia winning back the Ashes, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, December 18, 2006
Buchanan with the urn that Australia regained in the last Ashes. Will he commit to England this summer? © Getty Images
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John Buchanan has arrived in England and held discussions with national coach Andy Flower as part of a week-long fact-finding mission he hopes will result in a broader role within the ECB. Buchanan, who led Australia to a 5-0 series victory in the last Ashes series, met with Flower in Birmingham on Monday to share his thoughts on Ricky Ponting's current squad and England's recent visit to the battlefields of Flanders, a trip similar to Australia's tour of the Somme prior to the 2005 Ashes series.

The former Australia coach will travel across England over the next week, meeting with coaches from England's elite programmes, as well as county mentors Chris Adams (Surrey), Peter Moores (Lancashire) and Mick Newell (Nottinghamshire). He will also spend time with England Lions before their tour match against Australia at Worcester, before presenting a proposal to David Parsons, director of England's National Performance centre in Loughborough, regarding a future role within the England set-up.

As wide-ranging as Buchanan's brief in England is this week, most attention will focus on his dealings with the national team barely a week out from the first Test in Cardiff. The very notion of Buchanan passing on insights into Ricky Ponting's team has raised the ire of many in Australia, and prompted curt responses from the touring players.

"I provided [Flower] with some of my thoughts," Buchanan told Cricinfo. "I've been keeping a bit of a gaze on the Ashes build-up from afar, and passed on a few things I've picked up as an observer now removed from the team.

"We also talked about England's trip to Belgium, which was something I took a fair bit of interest in. It was good to catch up with him briefly, and was just one of quite a few things I am looking to accomplish on this trip."

Buchanan has taken a keen interest in Australia's preparations for this summer's Ashes series, and believes selectors will lean towards fielding an all-pace attack in Cardiff. Nathan Hauritz's figures of 1 for 158 in last week's tour match against Sussex did not inspire confidence, leaving Buchanan to predict that part-timers Marcus North, Simon Katich and Michael Clarke will share Australia's spin-bowling duties for the majority of the Ashes series.

"I guess the salient point here is what strategy do the Australians want to take?" Buchanan said. "Do they want to utilise their fast men as the main thrust to their attack, and use (Marcus) North, (Simon) Katich and (Michael) Clarke for their spin, or do they want to take a less hostile approach and take a spinner that would allow them to adapt to more than one kind of strategy or surface?

"I suspect they will be leaning towards the former. They will have to be confident in North, not only as a spinning option but also his batting. From what I have been reading, North struggled a bit with the bat in Hove, but he has a lot of experience in English conditions. If Watson returns from injury that could give the selectors a little more to think about, but unless [North] has a woeful game against the Lions, I think he would be pretty close."

Buchanan is hopeful his week in England will pave the way for a more regular role with the ECB. "I will speak to David Parsons before I leave but I am not sure yet as to what specifically a role would entail," he said. "It could mean checking in every now and then with Andy Flower and the national team to exchange ideas, working with the high performance centre in Loughborough or spending time with touring teams.

"I think we all will have a better idea after this week, but I don't think (a full-time position) would be the best way to utilise my time or knowledge."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Aahd on (July 4, 2009, 20:14 GMT)

Hah...with the success culture he ingrained in the Kolkata Knight Riders, I'm Buchanan is just the guy to lift England. I think the guy seeks out controversies, revels in them and thinks anything thats out of the ordinary makes him a revolutionary. Suffice to say I think England have a good chance at this Ashes because Australia isn't the unbeatable team it used to be but they'll have to keep Mr. Buchanan away from the squad...especially considering England are playing at home and the peeps in power won't have anywhere to run to ala Shahrukh Khan, when Buchanan's magic caused KKR to go up in flames.

Posted by Treeleaper on (June 30, 2009, 3:13 GMT)

It's a professional game, coaches just like players are able to take their talents where the money is good. Cross fertilisation can only be a good thing for international cricket.

Posted by FlashAsh on (June 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT)

Hey arun15thmay remember who Troy Cooley was? Traitors certainly helped in 2005!! So re-think your thoughts buddy!!

Anyway, it appears from the reporting most of Bucks work will be with academy work not influencing team selection, which I'm sure Flower will be jealously guarding!! Wouldn't you?

Cheers

Posted by Woody111 on (June 29, 2009, 23:52 GMT)

What could Buchanan possibly do to alter England's approach? Share secrets? I don't think so. He may have strategic knowldege and be adept tactically but there's nothing about Australia's plans, weaknesses or tactics that he could point out which England doesn't know already. Fishing for work eh Mr Buchanan?

Posted by DeepPoint on (June 29, 2009, 18:23 GMT)

Good luck to him. I dont think the Aussies should be worried. The coach can only do so much and I doubt a coach/captain with Warne and McGrath in their side had much work to do anyways.

Posted by Shaneblack on (June 29, 2009, 17:52 GMT)

I wish both teams good luck for the series but i strongly thing that Australia will come away with it but not with a whitewash.England team is full of talent especially with the lights of Ravi Bopara who as cemented his in the no. 3 position and KP and other so i think it will be an strong battle between the two as always.

Posted by ausnick2001 on (June 29, 2009, 17:28 GMT)

Well, this makes me feel a little bit ill I have to say...however, I think this will be more of a hinderence than a help for England...

Posted by arun15thmay on (June 29, 2009, 15:50 GMT)

i certainly think Australia have a real chance of another whitewash...whenever traitors are entertained, their team will definitely loose the series...same thing happened when Greg Chappell tried to help Australia against India and when John Wright helped NZ against India...So Australia will whitewash this series

Posted by popcorn on (June 29, 2009, 15:03 GMT)

Too much is being read into John Buchanan's "untimely" presence,just ahead of The Ashes.Andy Flower and England would be foolish to do an about turn in their preparations,even if (highly unlikely) John Buchanan has indeed passed on Ricky's Team serets. Rod Marsh was Director of England's Academy and a great Ashes player.Unlikely he did either. I don't think Buchanan would be such a traitor "for a few dollars more".

Posted by number-09 on (June 29, 2009, 14:20 GMT)

Hope he dose not mess up what Flower has built with his team. I think the authorities should allow Flower to run things his way, and not allow Buchanan to force his ideas. Buchanan is more a disruptive presence

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