England in India 2011-12 October 16, 2011

Flower unhappy with player autobiographies

ESPNcricinfo staff
42

England coach Andy Flower has made clear his opinion that autobiographies by current players are a bad idea after the publishing of excerpts from Graeme Swann's new book, The Breaks are Off, in the national press. The published sections included Swann's claims that Kevin Pietersen was never the right man to captain England and does not command respect in the same way as the more reserved Andrew Strauss.

Flower was comforted by Pietersen's "mature handling" of the situation and insisted the players remain friends, but when asked whether he believes players should wait until professional retirement to air critiques of their team-mates, he said: "That's my personal opinion, yes.

"I personally don't think that it's a good idea for current players to be talking about their fellow players. The written word does come across very, very differently - when you can't judge a person's tone. It's all been handled in-house, without many problems. Pietersen and Swann get on well, and I think Pietersen has handled it very maturely."

Pietersen was named England captain in August 2008, but his tenure lasted just five months after a much-publicised spat with then-coach Peter Moores. Strauss then took up the role and under his leadership England have been crowned the world's No. 1 Test team.

Pietersen's tenure included a 0-5 one-day series loss in India in 2008, which included his last ODI hundred - an unbeaten 111 in a six-wicket loss in Cuttack. Pietersen was stripped of the captaincy not long afterwards, and since then has averaged just 22.74 in one-day cricket.

He has rediscovered consistent form in Test and Twenty20 cricket, however, and Flower backed the batsman to make a telling contribution in the remaining four matches of England's series against India. "He is actually in very good form," Flower said. "His form in other formats during the last English summer was outstanding. He should be able to get runs out here, and I expect him to."

Flower conceded that England had been outplayed by India in the 126-run loss on Friday, but argued that his team had the skills and character to fight back and turn the series around.

"This group of England cricketers has shown they are of strong character, and I expect us to bounce back. We were outplayed by the Indians on this occasion. They out-fielded us - something that doesn't often happen to us - and we didn't deserve to win the game. But one down in a five-match series, we're going to look to do something about that in Delhi.

"Our problem was that we weren't able to manipulate the spinners as well as they did in the middle overs - a catalyst for a number of wickets in that period. There were various aspects of the game that were good - [Alastair] Cook played nicely, again went at a run-a-ball. But in the main, we under-performed."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AlanHarrison on October 19, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    While there is something ridiculous about players like Cook and Panesar writing books so early in their career (slightly less so for an experienced player like Swann), there are some double standards here. Firstly as Andrew Hughes' recent Page 2 article implies, people want to read about current players, not obscure ones, hence the appeal (and profit) in publishing a book sooner rather than later. Secondly, Flower didn't complain about Broad, e.g., publishing his book in early 2010, nor has he actually suggested there could be any sanctions against a player publishing a book like Swann's. This is unsurprising, because by keeping his team and its successes in the public eye, such books as a rule actually do Flower a favour. Also there's nothing in what Flower says to stop someone like Collingwood or Fletcher recently discarded dealing a whole load of dirt on the current team. Personally I think Swann's comments about KP anyway simply pointed out the obvious; even KP seems to agree

  • JackoLivesOn on October 18, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    Knew he had a terrific eye for novel writing particularly fiction from the time he came up with the story about rescueing his Cat.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on October 18, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    Swann could do himself a favour by focussing on cricket rather than on all these hypes and secondary things. That's a real shame for a bowler of his class. If he isn't careful and focussed, he is not only going to hurt his team mate and team, by extension, but also himself.

  • RandyOZ on October 17, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    This bloke, with less than 200 wickets, isnt even in the same stratosphere as Warney. What a joke. The good thing is no one outside England will buy his book.

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 17, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Its rather strange that swann chose not to right malicious opinions on Sachin to sell his book in the sub-continent.......

  • johnathonjosephs on October 17, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    I must admit though, Swann is a little too early on this autobiography stuff. He has had a stellar past 2-3 years, and the only reason I could see that he is writing his autobiography now is because he is hot right now. Who knows - maybe in 2-3 years he won't be in form and nobody would even think of buying an a book from him. But, in England, I feel as if he is a superstar (judging from various videos online and his antics on and off field) in England (similar to how Dhoni/Raina are superstars in India). This is equivalent of a Suresh Raina writing a autobiography. Ridiculous, but it will sell and make him more famous

  • on October 17, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    yup tottaly agreed with flower

  • Rahul_78 on October 17, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Finally someone has spoken some sense...In any professional environment it is not very nice to make your personnel feelings or remarks public about your colleagues...It is called as Unprofessional behaviour!

  • kabe_ag7 on October 17, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    @front foot lunge - haha. That's as genuine a whine as they come. And totally relevant to the article as well.

  • Vindaliew on October 17, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    I think the situation was mitigated to a large extent by Pietersen himself acknowledging that he isn't really captain material, and being happier as one of the troops rather than in a leadership position, and also having a great dose of respect for Strauss under whom his game has really picked up recently.

  • AlanHarrison on October 19, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    While there is something ridiculous about players like Cook and Panesar writing books so early in their career (slightly less so for an experienced player like Swann), there are some double standards here. Firstly as Andrew Hughes' recent Page 2 article implies, people want to read about current players, not obscure ones, hence the appeal (and profit) in publishing a book sooner rather than later. Secondly, Flower didn't complain about Broad, e.g., publishing his book in early 2010, nor has he actually suggested there could be any sanctions against a player publishing a book like Swann's. This is unsurprising, because by keeping his team and its successes in the public eye, such books as a rule actually do Flower a favour. Also there's nothing in what Flower says to stop someone like Collingwood or Fletcher recently discarded dealing a whole load of dirt on the current team. Personally I think Swann's comments about KP anyway simply pointed out the obvious; even KP seems to agree

  • JackoLivesOn on October 18, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    Knew he had a terrific eye for novel writing particularly fiction from the time he came up with the story about rescueing his Cat.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on October 18, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    Swann could do himself a favour by focussing on cricket rather than on all these hypes and secondary things. That's a real shame for a bowler of his class. If he isn't careful and focussed, he is not only going to hurt his team mate and team, by extension, but also himself.

  • RandyOZ on October 17, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    This bloke, with less than 200 wickets, isnt even in the same stratosphere as Warney. What a joke. The good thing is no one outside England will buy his book.

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 17, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Its rather strange that swann chose not to right malicious opinions on Sachin to sell his book in the sub-continent.......

  • johnathonjosephs on October 17, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    I must admit though, Swann is a little too early on this autobiography stuff. He has had a stellar past 2-3 years, and the only reason I could see that he is writing his autobiography now is because he is hot right now. Who knows - maybe in 2-3 years he won't be in form and nobody would even think of buying an a book from him. But, in England, I feel as if he is a superstar (judging from various videos online and his antics on and off field) in England (similar to how Dhoni/Raina are superstars in India). This is equivalent of a Suresh Raina writing a autobiography. Ridiculous, but it will sell and make him more famous

  • on October 17, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    yup tottaly agreed with flower

  • Rahul_78 on October 17, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Finally someone has spoken some sense...In any professional environment it is not very nice to make your personnel feelings or remarks public about your colleagues...It is called as Unprofessional behaviour!

  • kabe_ag7 on October 17, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    @front foot lunge - haha. That's as genuine a whine as they come. And totally relevant to the article as well.

  • Vindaliew on October 17, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    I think the situation was mitigated to a large extent by Pietersen himself acknowledging that he isn't really captain material, and being happier as one of the troops rather than in a leadership position, and also having a great dose of respect for Strauss under whom his game has really picked up recently.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 17, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    @phillip katon, i have seen many comments about malinga before, but its important to know that he had an injury where doctors around the world told him he would never play again (something with his back). Miraculously, he recovered within 2 years and has sensibly retired from test cricket in (what he says at least) an attempt to make it to the next world cup. Players in late 20's/early 30s with real pace always have had problems playing tests. Don't believe me? Look at Akhtar, Tait, Lee, Flintoff, Bond, Edwards, etc. And very obvious that players shouldn't make comments in books about other players in team before retiring. It would obviously make the team more unstable

  • subbass on October 17, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Yeh but Sanjv, Kennedy, Tendles and Mandela did not do an ashes tour diary on you tube ! Did they ? hey hey hey ! Swanny is a great charcacter and the perfect guy to have in the dressing room, but once on the pitch he is without doubt the best spinner in the world today, and look at his figures in the recent ODI ? You can clearly see that the Indian batters have huge respect for his skills.

  • on October 17, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    @Graemae swann you think you are somewhat like a legend in writing an autobiography you are not great and never will be .

  • on October 17, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    I acept d fact that swan is very good bowler(maybe no 1 off spinr at d momnt) and ofcourse extrmly good alround player but he shudnt hv done this specialy whn none of them has retd So no mater wht andy says its not easy for somone like pietersen to forget things so easily...

  • ravi_shankar88 on October 17, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    Well,im an indian.some of my fellow indian fans may not agree,but for me swann is the best spinner-allrounder in the world who can play all 3 formats of cricket and pick wickets and also an very useful batsman down the order and also can be successful in any part of the world,unlike your players anderson and broad who can do well only in moving conditions. Many are saying here that what swann has achieved in his career.but unlike warne,murali,kumble swann has not been given much chances in international arena when he was young.so haters must wait till his retirement and see what he has done throughout his career.

  • rahulcricket007 on October 17, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    @FRONT FOOT LONGUE . ENGLAND WHITEWASHED INDIA IN ODI SERIES IN ENG . REALLY? I THINK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT TEST SERIES . IN ODIS ONE MATCH WAS TIE & OTHER WAS NO RESULT , SO ITS NOT A WHITEWASH. ACCEPT THE FACT THAT ENGLAND WERE NEVER GOOD IN ODI CRICKET . ALSO CHECK THE STATS OF THE ODI MATCH B/W INDIA & ENGLAND AT NEUTRAL VENUES YOU WLL SEE INDIA IS AHEAD OF ENGLAND .

  • thewayitwass on October 17, 2011, 1:27 GMT

    number-09- lee played over 70 test matches, and was at the end of his career when he made that choice, malinga has played 30 tests, please dont compare the 2

  • RandyOZ on October 17, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    @Yorker_ToeCrusher - dead right. Swann has achieved virtually nothing (less than 200 wickets) and is so old that he will retire a has been soon. How embarassing that the English even compare him to Warne. I guess thats why Wisden only has 1 English player in their top 5. Even the wised up English know they have nothing!

  • Zahidsaltin on October 16, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    Who is Swann?? you mean Governor Weatherby Swann

  • mobsy on October 16, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    @5wombats. D.Vettori, D.Mendis, S.Ajmal, D.Bishoo are to name a few who are just as good as the 'legendary' Swan if not better. I have nothing against this guy, but to be called the best bowler in the world having achieved nothing (apart from a few home series) is just silly. And to top it up, he writes an autobigraphy! get real people! (English fans and media more like)

  • Nutcutlet on October 16, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    As usual, Andy Flower is 100% correct! No player currently being considered for national selection should be allowed to go into print, unless it is a coaching manual, pure and simple. No good can come of it - such revelations as Swann's about KP's shortcomings as a captain only feed speculation about the cohesiveness of the team. Of course it can be laughed off, especially if the side's been winning, but should the team suddenly find itself losing matches and collectively under-performing, then such books as Swann's come to be regarded as circumstantial evidence that there is dissent in the camp. Whether that is true or not, the speculation will have printed evidence to feed it, and the printed word has so much more power than anything that is merely said off-the-cuff. There is, therefore, an inherent danger in allowing these airings of views into the public domain, no matter how amusing. Recall Jim Laker's 'Over to Me' anyone? We've been here before! Be warned, Swanny and all!

  • on October 16, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Just 153 test wickets for a 32 year old spinner and he writes an autobiography!!! and the fans compare him with SKW? Are you fans really that desperate for superstars?

  • SanjivAwesome on October 16, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    I buy autobigraphies written by people who have achieved great milestones. Mandela, Tendulkar, Kennedy. Swann?

  • bigdhonifan on October 16, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    If Swann written one, anile, Shane and Murli can write 10 autobiographies!! Lol, what he did in his career??? Just known as best spinner in the world for one year or so after Murali retired and Harbhajan lost his form??? I think now Ashwin also can write one!!

  • 5wombats on October 16, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    @mobsy - "there are many better bowlers than him" (Swann) . Really? Ok - name them.... There won't be any indians or Australians on that extremely short list in either ODI or Test format.

  • 360review on October 16, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    This is good. We need more players who are not afraid of their board and can write whats on their mind. England keeps too light of a leash on their players. Remember what happened to Kevin for his twitter outburst?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 16, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    Thought England have by far the better test team, their one-day performances have always been half-hearted since the introduction of this format of the game. It is of course accepted by all nations that a Test Match is the hardest form of the game to play and the most demanding, and that is why England's mentality towards the one-day game has always been the way it is (recently WHITEWASHING India in the one-day series an exception, as that ODI series just emphasised how big the gap is between the sides). With a different - looking England full of youngsters on this tour, this is a good series for it's youngsters to show how they play their games. And a good test too for a new and inexperienced captain in Cook.

  • mobsy on October 16, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Guys, no one is questioning Swan's cricketing skills, but he has not achieved anything to be even compared to the 'certain blond' yet. He hasn't even crossed the 200 wicket mark in tests! He is a good cricketer but thats all and there are many better bowlers than him. English have a bad habit of bigging their players up and than criticising when they don't perform! lets see if he troubles the Indians in India, Pakistanis in UAE and than Sri-lankans later to even be considered a good bowler.

  • on October 16, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    Swann has written an autobiography?? may be i should write one too.

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on October 16, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    What has he done in his career to write an autobiography..?He isn't great yet to write one

  • on October 16, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    You missed out the best part - when Swann recounted Pietersen's team talk at lunch....

    "****ing Bowl ****ing straight!"

  • bigwonder on October 16, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    Why not? After all what is wrong in knowing what the gentlemen are hiding from the world. This book is a welcome site to the close and securely guarded England Team internal relationship. Flower is mainly concerned with results and I doubt that he gives a d... about players relationship.

  • hhillbumper on October 16, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    jonesy2 Swann is a world class spinner.You have not been troubled with one of this since a certain blonde retired.Got a good name for your book though.How about the fall and decline of AUssie cricket.

  • 5wombats on October 16, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    @jonesy2 - yeah, I've got a publisher for you; The Asylum Press.

  • number-09 on October 16, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    "Phillip" - Malinga has degenerative knee problems, and can hardly sustain playing test matches. He cannot be depended on to bowl 25 to 40 overs a match. He has had to consider only the shorter formats, in order to prolong his playing days, and earn as much as he can, same as Tait. Same as "Lee" who at 34 has had to retire from 5 day cricket. So do not single Malinga out.

  • landl47 on October 16, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Flower's right, no autobiographies (or biographies for that matter) should be published before a player hangs them up. The publishers are always going to want 'controversy' to sell books (no doubt that objective will have been achieved for Swann's book) and inevitably the player's own career has to be reassessed once he has retired. For what it's worth, he's right about Pietersen as a captain, but that's hardly the point.

  • on October 16, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    We should ban Slinging in cricket.

  • on October 16, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    Well I truly believe that T20 should be soon the door first rather than ODIs because with the new rules and good 2011 WC matches showed ODI still attract supporters, media and money which is the basic need of T20 birth. Just because t20 and Test match are 180 degrees apart doesn't facilitate that ODIs retire as in this format u can apply both Test skills like patience, innings building and then can explode into t20 format. So I find it pretty laughable that ODIs be scrapped just because good players are 'retiring'. And I also agree with Flower that current cricketers should refrain from publishing autobiographies as this could wreck the good teamspirit and balance. Wonder what will happen if Ricky Ponting or Sachin publish their ones containing excerpts from the current team players encounters !!

  • Flat_Track_bullies on October 16, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    @ phillip katon your opinion, unfortunately is exactly that,..what really matters is what majority thinks, and that's not that. world cup still is biggest money generator...sub continent loves it.. But importantly, 50 over cricket is responsible for increasing popularity of cricket..lets not fix what's not broken..listen to majority,now that times have changed!!!

  • jonesy2 on October 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    its not a good idea. but who is swann to release an autobiography? maybe i will release one.

  • bobmartin on October 16, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Cricketers poorly paid ? In comparison with footballers maybe, but that does not make England's test cricketers poorly paid. Add their contract, their match fees, their sponsored cars and equipment and their product endorsements, and I suggest they do quite well out of the game. No, the publication of autobiographies is carefully timed to coincide with success.. After all, who wants to read the life story of a has-been telling you how it was, when a successful, popular and current player can tell you how it is..

  • on October 16, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    Slightly off topic IMHO I think the ODI format should be abolished. T20 and tests are so opposite that having nothing in between them would elevate the status of both and of cricket in general. Also I think Flower is 100% correct. What possible good to team morale could these musings achieve? Nothing, it's all about the individual's bank balance...Perhaps we should be paying TEST CRICKETERS the money they deserve-then we possibly wouldn't have this situation, and other laughable cases of highly talented guys like Malinga 'retiring'.

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  • on October 16, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    Slightly off topic IMHO I think the ODI format should be abolished. T20 and tests are so opposite that having nothing in between them would elevate the status of both and of cricket in general. Also I think Flower is 100% correct. What possible good to team morale could these musings achieve? Nothing, it's all about the individual's bank balance...Perhaps we should be paying TEST CRICKETERS the money they deserve-then we possibly wouldn't have this situation, and other laughable cases of highly talented guys like Malinga 'retiring'.

  • bobmartin on October 16, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Cricketers poorly paid ? In comparison with footballers maybe, but that does not make England's test cricketers poorly paid. Add their contract, their match fees, their sponsored cars and equipment and their product endorsements, and I suggest they do quite well out of the game. No, the publication of autobiographies is carefully timed to coincide with success.. After all, who wants to read the life story of a has-been telling you how it was, when a successful, popular and current player can tell you how it is..

  • jonesy2 on October 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    its not a good idea. but who is swann to release an autobiography? maybe i will release one.

  • Flat_Track_bullies on October 16, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    @ phillip katon your opinion, unfortunately is exactly that,..what really matters is what majority thinks, and that's not that. world cup still is biggest money generator...sub continent loves it.. But importantly, 50 over cricket is responsible for increasing popularity of cricket..lets not fix what's not broken..listen to majority,now that times have changed!!!

  • on October 16, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    Well I truly believe that T20 should be soon the door first rather than ODIs because with the new rules and good 2011 WC matches showed ODI still attract supporters, media and money which is the basic need of T20 birth. Just because t20 and Test match are 180 degrees apart doesn't facilitate that ODIs retire as in this format u can apply both Test skills like patience, innings building and then can explode into t20 format. So I find it pretty laughable that ODIs be scrapped just because good players are 'retiring'. And I also agree with Flower that current cricketers should refrain from publishing autobiographies as this could wreck the good teamspirit and balance. Wonder what will happen if Ricky Ponting or Sachin publish their ones containing excerpts from the current team players encounters !!

  • on October 16, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    We should ban Slinging in cricket.

  • landl47 on October 16, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Flower's right, no autobiographies (or biographies for that matter) should be published before a player hangs them up. The publishers are always going to want 'controversy' to sell books (no doubt that objective will have been achieved for Swann's book) and inevitably the player's own career has to be reassessed once he has retired. For what it's worth, he's right about Pietersen as a captain, but that's hardly the point.

  • number-09 on October 16, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    "Phillip" - Malinga has degenerative knee problems, and can hardly sustain playing test matches. He cannot be depended on to bowl 25 to 40 overs a match. He has had to consider only the shorter formats, in order to prolong his playing days, and earn as much as he can, same as Tait. Same as "Lee" who at 34 has had to retire from 5 day cricket. So do not single Malinga out.

  • 5wombats on October 16, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    @jonesy2 - yeah, I've got a publisher for you; The Asylum Press.

  • hhillbumper on October 16, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    jonesy2 Swann is a world class spinner.You have not been troubled with one of this since a certain blonde retired.Got a good name for your book though.How about the fall and decline of AUssie cricket.