England news March 28, 2009

Ford pulls out of running for England coach

Cricinfo staff

Kent coach Graham Ford has withdrawn his name from the shortlist of candidates for the top England role because of the delay in making an appointment.

"I thought it would be sorted out a lot quicker than it has been," Ford, who will continue coaching Kent, told the Guardian. "I was invited to go on the shortlist and told they wanted to interview me for the job. But I withdrew my name two days ago.

Ford was of the opinion that the new England coach should have enough time to settle in before an important summer. "In my view the Ashes series is such an important one that you need a proper run at it. Duncan Fletcher [the former England coach who is now working with the South Africa team] told me that he had a year or more to prepare for the Ashes series in 2005. But there are a number of factors. I like things to be done properly and I am already well into my preparations with Kent for the new season."

It was reported earlier that the ECB's shortlist was believed to include current England coach Andy Flower, South Africa coach Mickey Arthur, former Indian mentor John Wright and Ford. Arthur, however, said that he would "like to honour his commitment" to South Africa until the 2011 World Cup. Ford's withdrawal is likely to make Flower, who was appointed temporarily after Peter Moores was sacked in January, the favourite for the job even though England struggled under him on the ongoing tour of West Indies.

Flower, however, had the backing of England captain Andrew Strauss. "We've worked very well together so it would be fantastic to continue what we've started," Strauss told BBC Sport.

"A new coach would probably have his own ideas and it's a case of compromising and making sure between you, you are going in the right direction. Now is not a time for thinking about that too much, but Andy is a strong candidate and there is a good chance that England will continue as they are but that remains to be seen in the coming weeks."