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England in Australia 2010-11

Flower wants say on tour planning

Andrew McGlashan in Perth

February 4, 2011

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Andy Flower looks ahead to England's final ODI of a gruelling tour, Perth, February 4, 2011
Andy Flower thinks coaches should have an input in international tour scheduling © Getty Images
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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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2011, 3:13 GMT)

Quite apart from the timing of these ODIs just before a World Cup, why are there so many? Seven ODIs in a row. It's more overkill, the flogging of a 'market brand' for TV ratings. Three games would have been enough to decide a winner. It's not only flogging a market brand, but players as well. The injury toll on both sides is very high, which in itself is worrying. And as the article points out, the coaching staff have had no break either. To top it off, all this incessant travel back and forth from one city to another is ludicrous and also impacts on players' well being.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (February 4, 2011, 22:39 GMT)

@kasnaw, @AeyKay, @Rupinder Singh Lotay; truly, your heads are absolutely empty!!! The whole point is that coach, players have NO SAY WHATSOEVER in Future Tours Program - they have no choices - because it's decided by the ICC and the ICC tells them what they have to participate in. So Flower is justified in making this point. Australia also suffer the Ashes/WC conflict - but their scheduling is nothing like as bad as Englands - they don't play a Test match again until August but England face SL in May!!!

Posted by   on (February 4, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

Sounds like England getting their excuses in early to me! Ha ! Ha!

Posted by Trickstar on (February 4, 2011, 18:02 GMT)

@kasnaw As someone else has said with England the only team in the NH, they play all England's Spring/summer and play all Autumn/Winter. The Aussies for example haven't got another test match for another 6 months, whereas England are playing in May, just over a month after the WC. Andy Flower has spoken about the scheduling around the Ashes since last year, so give it a rest. @PanchoPete You don't know what you are talking about if you think Medicine balls are a problem and Broad got injured because off using them,how wrong can you get.They are great for increasing the core strength and athletes from all sports use them. Over training is also far off the mark and the guys who are training them are far more knowledgeable than you about training cricketers, training has become more scientific, like it has in all sports and the training is a lot more individual for each cricketers needs.

Posted by AeyKay on (February 4, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

Complain is usual outcome during crisis.

If ODI results have been good for England, he would have surely commented, its great preparation for world cup. Please stop yelling today that schedule is aggressive, why did you accepted such schedule, if you had the vision, you should have rested key players.

There are many international teams which are still playing, they are not complaining about schedule. Its just the result of over exposure and estimation for Ashes, you should have downplayed, less cocky and pro-active about number of games in series.

I don't understand why ECB, coach and players agreed for such a long tour. If you agreed, face it now. They should say that we have realised we can't copeup with such a long tour and record the lesson learnt, instead of complaining about long series.

Posted by Mogadon on (February 4, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

@PanchoPete, given Broad was injured bowling in a match and not whilst training surely he was better off flinging the medicine ball?

@Kasnaw, As I recall England were playing Bangladesh in a Test/ODI series when the Aussies had their feet up.

Posted by pb10677 on (February 4, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

With regard to this, and the similar story on the prospect of 3 Ashes series in a 2 year period, I contacted the ECB to express the concern of many fans, and suggested that they should stretch out the upcoming Ashes tournaments rather than squeeze them together.

This was their reply - I was quite pleased they came back as they don't guarantee it.

"Although there has been information in the media of late, as yet the full ICC Future Tours Programme from 2012 onwards hasn't been confirmed; obviously the forthcoming Ashes Series home and away are a part of that and can't be seen in isolation, so until that has been agreed by all ICC Members and released by ICC and ECB it's hard for us to comment on the specific detail and rationale behind the scheduling of any individual series.

But your comments have been noted and fed on internally"

Whether the last bit of that will lead to anything remains to be seen!

Posted by   on (February 4, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

kasnaw u idiot, The English cricketers never get time off!!!!! end off.... as they are the only northern hemisphere team they can only tour in the english winter!!!! where as unless they tour england the rest of the test playing nations get a rest in the english summer............... save the odd tour to india for a quick two test series dont be so niave!!!

Posted by kasnaw on (February 4, 2011, 9:37 GMT)

Why are the English complaining when they have started to lose. Haven't the Australians had a hectic year also??? Don't see them complaining....

Posted by   on (February 4, 2011, 8:57 GMT)

Andy flower appears to be correct. England are playing their last ODI down under just two weeks prior to the onset of world cup. If we look back at the 2003 and 2007 edition then we realise that England had a little time in between the termination of aussie tour and beginning of world cup. Such kind of hassle filled tour schedules lead to severe injuries. Absence of a major player in tournament such as the WC may prove to be disastrous. As a result, while the tour itineraries are scheduled, it should be in consultation with the captain as well as the coach.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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