The Ashes 2013-14

Flower set for England talks

Andrew McGlashan

December 30, 2013

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A
'I'm motivated to contribute to England' - Flower

England team director Andy Flower will meet with the incoming managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton, in Sydney over the New Year to plot a way forward for the team after their disastrous tour of Australia.

England reached a new nadir in Melbourne as they threw away a position of strength with two days of awful cricket to lose by eight wickets. But Flower reiterated that he has the hunger to continue in his role beyond the final Test of this series.

Flower is no longer directly involved in the one-day and Twenty20 set-ups having handed that role to Ashley Giles last year - although remains in overall control of all senior England men's sides - so if he was to stay on as team director his next hands-on duties would come in June when England face Sri Lanka before the visit of India for a five-Test series.

"Certainly I examine my role in the tour. I ask myself tough questions, but my focus at the moment is the Sydney Test match" he said in Melbourne. "Paul Downton the new managing director has arrived in Australia and I'll be meeting with him in Sydney.

"We'll talk about the leadership of the national team with regards to the coaching position. I'm very motivated to contribute to English cricket and that's what I'm going to do."

Flower wanted Swann to finish tour

  • Andy Flower said he would have liked Graeme Swann to complete the Ashes tour before retiring but said the offspinner could leave "very proudly."
  • Swann made his surprise move before the Boxing Day Test, saying his troublesome elbow would not allow him to continue and he did not want to hang around for a send-off.

  • "Graeme Swann has done an outstanding job for England over the last six or so years," Flower said."I think he's the seventh-highest Test wicket-taker in English history. To do that over 60 Test matches is a great effort, and he's been a huge part of our success over the last few years.

  • "I've been very proud to have had him in the side, and I know he can retire very proudly.In saying that, I would have liked him to have seen the tour out."

Flower also had no doubt over whether Alastair Cook was still the right captain: "Yes, he is. Alastair Cook has captained six Test series for England, and this is the first series loss he's had. But this is a very challenging time for any leader. For Alastair and me, it's certainly in that bracket. Out of challenging times, sometimes we can grow significantly.

England's third-day implosion at the MCG, where they went from none for 65 in their second innings - a lead of 116 - to 179 all out left Australia needing 231 for victory and when the visitors dropped early catches on the fourth morning the result was sealed. Only two England batsmen passed fifty in the Test - Cook and Kevin Pietersen - in a continuation of the almost complete loss of batting form that has struck the touring squad.

"The guys are fighting. Not fighting well enough," Flower said "Our batting over the four Tests has generally let us down. We are all responsible for this result, the management staff as well as the players.

"We don't want people to accept losses too easily. But equally sometimes you have to accept the fact you've been outplayed. I don't believe we should be totally distraught about where we are. Now we're faced with one chance in Sydney to redeem ourselves to a small extent."

Andy Flower speaks to the media in Melbourne, December 30, 2013
Andy Flower insisted he retains the desire to help England recover from their Ashes thrashings © Getty Images

Flower added that he expected changes to the side for the New Year Test at the SCG and appeared to stop short of guaranteeing Jonny Baristow his place after the wicketkeeper endured a tough second innings in Melbourne where he missed two chances after his batting was exposed by the pace of Mitchell Johnson

"He's a young man who's played 13 Test matches," Flower said. "He's still learning as a wicketkeeper/batsman and I hope when he gets another chance he'll do oustandingly well. I would imagine there will be one or two changes for the Sydney Test."

Among the changes mooted are Test debuts for Scott Borthwick, the Durham legspinning allrounder who was added to the squad after Graeme Swann retirement, and Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 31, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

So much for blaming coaching/mgmt. just for sake of finding some1 to pass the blame on. Won't make a diff. Ultimately its the players on field who matter.Eng has whole bunch of mediocre 1s, couple -Cook,Bell- v good 1s,no great 1s.An empty c/board too.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

I must say squad and team selection has me baffled. Due respect to bairstow as a batsman, he's not a test keeper. It seems as though management had no plan should prior or swann not contribute, as the rush to ship out replacements, or field a spare batsman as a keeper, have shown. You feel for poor old Monty - obviously the selectors don't think much of him as a backup if they're bringing in cover for Sydney, and cook doesn't think much more, refusing to give him the ball in Melbourne - he got what, 13 or 14 overs in the match? Not to mention the fast bowling passengers on this tour. It really seems as though assumptions were made that the first eleven would necessarily succeed, with no plan b required.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

drop bairstow and bresnan and bring in Rankin and buttler

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

Cricket is not just about hows good your technique is or how fit you are, theres the mentality aspect which needs to be addressed. TeamIndia is a good example of this especially building up to the last WC, was the great expectations from fans and media spotlight on them 24 hours 7 days a week. A Psychiatrist worked very close with the team and it gave that mental edge they needed. a prime example of a mentally tough player is Grahame Thorpe, when he failed in India on tour he didn't rely on ECB to help him, he got to India and played with teams there and worked on his game, next tour to India he was successful. I think England left for Australia with a very complacent mindset and they didnt have a plan B especially when defeats were so one sided, they lost the bottle which was reflected in their game. This is where having a team psychiatrist who can speak to players on a one to one basis would be very beneficial. Hard work is fine but cricket needs to be fun & enjoyable,

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

Flower needs Flowers. Excellent player and an Excellent coach.

Posted by Faz63 on (December 30, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Well, Well....the tests are nearly all over and it'll be interesting how we fair in the 1 dayers. I personally don't believe that you can manage a team just for tests as you lose continuity....its the same as wwhen I think Vaughan left as he felt he had no control of the team. Splitting the test and 1 day coaching is not the right solution.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 30, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

I certainly don't blame Flower for England's failures but it may well be that he is just not the right coach for this England team at this point in their development. He's done much for England cricket, no doubt, but he appears to be very regimented in his approach and that's an approach that isn't working at the moment.

Like some others, I also wonder what exactly goes through the heads of the selectors. They seem to believe that Test cricket is a completely different game to county cricket. No doubt there is a difference and some players who do well in the county game will not be able to make the step up while others who are just good in the county game will flourish at international level. In general though, there will be a fairly close correlation and the England selectors seem to have ignored that. The selection of Tremlett is a perfect example of where they seemed to think that he would be inspired to lift his game significantly from his domestic performance as if by magic.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

It is time to give somebody else a chance. Bresnan, Panesar and Carberry are not the future of English cricket - they should sit out for Ballance, Borthwick and Finn, who should not be harshly judged on performances in Sydney but given a decent run. Tough on Joe Root to have to move him up to 2 under these circumstances, but he needs to prove he is the real deal as an opener - if not, Compton lurks in the background. There is no point in blaming Cook for being himself, and there is no credible alternative as captain anyway. Flower should carry the can and resign.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

England hav chosen finn, rankin and ballance who hav played no games in the series. Prior has been awful, tremlett was playing even worse for surrey so they both were unnecessary. Onions and Butler hav been much better in their domestic seasons and should hav been on this tour. broad or bresnan needs to sit out and finn comes in while panesar sits out for Borthwick. Hopefully the selectors will be changed before the captaincy or coaching is affected

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (December 30, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

It's the selectors who need overhauling more urgently than anyone else. Maybe they attend some County games, but they don't seem capable of noticing what is happening in front of their eyes, if indeed they do actually watch the cricket.

Any County spectator attending games in the autumn could see that Panesar, Tremlett and Prior were all completely gone at the game (just check how awful Prior was for Sussex). And that Carberry and Kerrigan were Division 2 cricketers, while Compton, Buttler and Onions were the real deal in Division 1.

England is uniquely blessed with the only two-division First-Class system on the planet. The selectors simply ignore this. They chose James Taylor when he was scoring easy runs for Leics in Division 2, then dropped him when he had to work hard for runs with Notts in Div.1.

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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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