England in India 2011-12 October 16, 2011

Flower unhappy with player autobiographies

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

  • Alan 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

  • sam 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.

  • Srinivas 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.

  • Randolph 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.

  • 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.......

  • Johnathon 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

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    yup tottaly agreed with flower

  • Rahul 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!

  • Aditya 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.

  • Ian 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.

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