Flower wants say on tour planning
Andy Flower believes coaches should have more say on international tour itineraries as England come to the end of their three-month stay in Australia before heading almost straight to the subcontinent for the World Cup.
For those players and coaches who have been involved since the beginning of the Ashes tour at the end of October it means they'll spend just three days in the UK until the conclusion of their World Cup campaign. It is a familiar situation for England who have had this back-to-back scheduling of two major events for the last three Ashes-World Cup cycles.
Flower is now having to deal with an increasing injury toll as the exertions of the Australia trip take effect which leaves England struggling to have a full-strength squad for the World Cup and he thinks there should be more consultation about tours. "We have very little say," he said. "Ideally the coach's thoughts should be sought but in most instances these fixture lists and itineraries are in place way before any information is sought from the coach.
"It would be quite sensible to look at how these tours are set up," he added. "Especially this close to a World Cup, however those are the schedules we are given and we will deal with it."
The positioning of the Ashes and World Cup together for England will be broken after this year. The next Ashes in Australia being staged in 2013-14 to avoid a clash with the 2014-15 50-over event which will be staged in Australia and New Zealand. However, it means three Ashes series in the space of two years with England hosting series in 2013 and 2015.
For now, though, Flower is just concentrating on trying to get his squad ready for this World Cup with England aiming to end a shocking run at the last four tournaments. The drawn out nature of the event, with a large group stage before the knockout matches being, gives England a chance to find their feet but Flower wants intensity from the start. "It's our job to be at our peak as close to the start of the World Cup as possible so that's what we'll be aiming for," he said.
One player who has had a huge demand placed on him is the captain, Andrew Strauss, who has only had a short break for the Twenty20 matches since arriving in Australia. He was rested for the Bangladesh tour last year, which brought a mixed reaction, and it was with this exact scenario in mind to try and prevent burnout.
Strauss has managed to maintain his form during the one-dayers, hitting 63 at Sydney, and Flower is a huge admirer of what he has achieved despite the heavy series loss. "He's a rock solid bloke. You guys will see that, we know it from inside our own team and he has a significant effect on the side.
"He's was a huge part of winning the Ashes, he will be a very important part of our World Cup attempt and as you can see during the one-day series he holds himself very strongly given every responsibility and burden that's on his shoulders. We are lucky to have a guy like that."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo