The Ashes 2013-14 January 6, 2014

Flower determined to correct mistakes


'It's a bitter pill to swallow - Flower

Andy Flower has reiterated his desire to remain as England team director, but admitted "we've made mistakes" during the Ashes tour of Australia.

Under Flower, the England team won three successive Ashes series, their first global limited-overs tournament - the World Twenty20 of 2010 - and enjoyed periods at the top of the rankings in all three formats of the game.

But as a result of the whitewash defeat in Australia, England have fallen to fourth in the world Test rankings. Furthermore, the margin of defeat in the five games ranks as the worst England have experienced in 30 years.

"We're not proud of that result," Flower admitted. "It's quite a bitter pill to swallow, but we have to face up to that reality that we've been totally outplayed. We've had a lot of good times. This was not a good time for any of us involved with the England cricket team. I like to feel pride about the way we go about things. I don't feel pride in the way we played in this Test series.

"We have some thinking to do and some decisions to make. We've got to review what's happened on this tour. Obviously, we've made mistakes. I need to meet with the key decision-makers to decide what we're going to do."

Those key decision makers include Paul Downton, the new managing director of England cricket who does not formally take-up his new role until February 1, and David Collier, the ECB chief executive, who has already made it clear that Flower retains his unequivocal backing.

"Of course, it's good to have their support," Flower said. "And we all have a responsibility to get our heads together and learn from the mistakes we've made and get things moving in the right direction.

"Obviously after a loss of this proportion there has to be change of some description. It would not be reasonable to go on doing the same things again, I absolutely agree with that. Exactly what that change looks like I can't describe right now. I've got my own ideas but it would be irresponsible to go into it without discussing them with some key personnel.

"I think our methods, our environment and our personnel all need to be looked at. One of the skills a coach should have is adaptability. Sometimes you have to adapt your style to whoever your captain is and I think the better coaches can do that. I obviously have to look at the way I've led this group and I'm continually looking to improve myself."

Flower insisted that he had no thoughts of resigning. "Yes, I will be staying in this job," he said. "I am proud of my involvement with the England cricket team and very proud of the results we've had. I thiink it's important that we review this logically and learn from some of the mistakes we've made and ensure we get English cricket moving in the right direction again.

"It does feel like the end of some type of era and there will be some sort of new start. We might have to take a little more pain before we have sustained success again and we might have to ask for a little patience in that regard over the coming months.

"I think it will be the start of something new and I think Alastair Cook can lead that renewal and rebuilding the England cricket side."

Flower had earlier been pressed by Ian Ward on Sky TV about whether team spirit had suffered during a run of one-sided contests, Flower made no attempt to disguise that there had been issues. "There are always some personal agendas in most teams," he said. "No team is perfect and our team is no different.

"Team spirit always gets its closest examination under pressure and we have been put under a tremendous amount of pressure by a good side on their home turf. That is one area we will look at."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on January 8, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Hopefully cricinfo will publish this time as there's obviously nothing anyone can deem offensive

    @Ragav999 on (January 7, 2014, 10:30 GMT) Personally I will always say that no batsman or bowler should be bigger than the team. The players you mentioned (excluding KP) have all retired now and I'm not sure any of those batsmen went through such long periods where they looked so inept at the crease. Re Ponting for example - I doubt any Aus side he's been involved with have been thrashed like England have. You can say it leads to insecurity - but does a little bit of insecurity do too much harm? And the flip side of it is that keeping going the way things have been going and keeping underperforming players in a side IMO can lead to complacency and also where is the motivation for fringe players knowing that no matter how well they play and how badly those in the side play , the only way they get in is if there's an injury

  • Dummy4 on January 8, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    Which MBA retard thought up the idea to play videos automatically on page-load ?

  • Graham on January 7, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    When Flower was appointed as coach in 2008/9, I was delighted. He was definitely the man for that particular time, and probably was for the next 4 years. Certainly England would never have beaten Aus in their own backyard 3-1 in 2010/11 without Flower at the helm. But times change, and coaches have a lifespan. It certainly seems that Andy Flower has outlived his natural lifespan. England don't need someone to make incremental, fractional improvements to the team as is Flower's method, they need someone to give it an almighty shakeup. They need an English version of Boof Lehmann to restore some humour and some sanity to the dressing room and start making it fun and instinctive again. Players need to think for themselves, not rely upon the backroom Clone Army to do it for them. Decision making seems to be left to the coach and backroom staff these days, not the players on the field, and that's wrong.

  • John on January 7, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Ctd from (January 7, 2014, 9:54 GMT) 4 - There has been talk of heavy schedules etc wearing our players down - Personally I dont buy that too much but if this is the case then why dont we have a squad of test players that dont play ODIs at all? Either that or rest big players for certain tests. What's wrong with just resting a player for a test? Football managers rest most key players from time to time and if the player is jaded/out of nick then what's the problem? Of course someone could come in and do well and then it becomes a hard decision to make but surely it's a nice hard decision to make?

    I think fans can accept uninspiring cricket if the results are good and can accept bad results if the cricket is spiritted/entertaining but right now we have neither

  • John on January 7, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    @TheChap ctd - Re tiredness - Both teams had equal rest between the 2 series so if one team is more tired than the other it indicates fitness issues. Re scheduling - KP had questioned this a while ago so if we are to take him seriously then we should have done a while ago. He has said this time round about the same thing and yet he's never been so inactive in a year. Re motivation - Well it's thee most important test series out there for both sides and if that's not motivation enough (which it should be) Eng were neck and neck with India pre series and had a chance to move away from them and close the gap on SA. I suppose we moved away from India in the rankings but unfortunately the wrong way. Agree re Onions but whoever is captain will be a Flower clone like Cook and Strauss and they've already said they won't change the way they play

  • Ragavendran on January 7, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    @JG2704 on (January 7, 2014, 9:54 GMT) : "Surely the best way to go about it is for them to play their way back into form away from the pressure and away from the limelight and where it is not costing the team results? " Do you want any batsman irrespective of their quality (Ex. Peterson, Lara, Sachin, Ponting, Kallis etc..) dropped if they underperform for a year or so? It will also lead to insecurity among existing batsmen and they will keep counting the number of games they have left (say ex. 15 innings without a century is the threshold). There does not seem to be any foolproof logical way of handling out of form players and bringing them right back at the beginning of their next purple patch. I am genuinely interested to know your thoughts on this.

  • John on January 7, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    I think you have to look at the Flower era and for me it can be divided into 2 halves. In the 1st half (thereabouts) of his era England drew in SA, won in Aus and beat India 4-0.The only drawn series was in SA so I'd not call that a blemish. In the second half of his reign we had a great win in India but that for me was the only above par series result.Look at the other series and you have at least 4 poor/poorish series. Drawing in NZ (and lucky to draw) was poor as were the whitewashes at the hands of Aus and Pakistan and the 2-0 home defeat vs SA. On top of that the performances in SL and vs NZ and Aus at home were nothing to write home about either. After the 4-0 vs India we had a decent lead at the top of the ICC rankings - we still werent knocked off the top after the UAE debacle.We're now a massive 26 points behind SA & 10 points behind Ind in 2nd and 4 behind Aus who we were comfortably in front of pre series. So I'd hardly say calling for Flower to go as kneejerk

  • John on January 7, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Not sure who should replace Flower but for me

    1 - He'd need to be more flexible with his tactics and have an onfield captain who can think on their feet a bit more 2- Our batting needs shaking up. I wonder if the flamboyance is being coached out of our test players? Obviously there needs to be some sort of modification but the mindset seems too defensive. 3- Someone who is not afraid to drop underperforming players no matter what they've achieved in the past esp when results are going against the team. There's nothing to say they cant come back into the side - soon after if their form merrits it. One thing I've always questioned is when a batsman looks hopelessly out of sorts for several games and the theory seems to be keep him in the side and let him play his way back into form. Surely the best way to go about it is for them to play their way back into form away from the pressure and away from the limelight and where it is not costing the team results?

  • John on January 7, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    Flower should go now.

    I like him as a person but he is SO rigid and England are SO rigid under him.

    Dont get me wrong. England achieved alot under him and probably peaked around 2010/11 when they drew in SA , won in Aus and beat India 5-0. His plans/theories/tactics worked very well back then but it seems that they are not now working. IMO teams are working out/ have worked out how to negate these tactics and surely when you're behind in a series you need to do something different. Aus playing Swann so positively was huge but England (by and large) showed nothing by way of intent in there batting. So my main issue is that they are totally unwilling to change their approch and you can bring in any captain but if Flower is pulling the strings then you have to have world beaters on top of their game all the time to follow just one gameplan and be consistent.They did well in India but there were big warning signs (esp re batting) in both NZ series and vs Aus in England

  • Lee on January 7, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    This was a more encouraging interview than those he gave earlier, which seemed to suggest just more of the same, in terms of approach. On selection they do need to get away from the habit of random selections made more in hope than expectation (Monty, Tremlet, Bresnan etc). They need to identify players or talent and character and stick by them as they develop, that is how they got Bell and, Cook and Broad among others. Calls for culls are pointless, half of Strauss's team has gone already. The core of Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Broad and Anderson must be retained until the other players have grown into their roles at least. Prior should be recalled, Bairstow is not his replacement, and Buttler is not ready yet, but if Prior fails in the summer, that should be it. Stokes, Ballance and Root should be back, Carberry is not the future. Borthwick should get a run, Sri Lanka and India would be a good test for him. And the other seamer, sort out Steven Finn!