Flower desperate for ODI success
Andy Flower has put his name forward for the vacant England coaching position, but knows that his prospects of securing the role on a permanent basis will be improved immeasurably if he can find a way to end the country's barren run of form that has left them without a single victory in 14 official internationals since the fourth ODI against South Africa, at Lord's, in September.
Flower, who has enhanced his credentials on the tour of the Caribbean without quite turning the team's fortunes around, told reporters on Monday that England were still "a long way" from finding the right balance in Twenty20 cricket, after they were thrashed by six wickets in the one-off contest in Trinidad.
England's attentions now turn to 50-over cricket, with the first ODI starting in Guyana on Friday. Despite a 5-0 trouncing in their pre-Christmas series in India, Flower is more optimistic about England's prospects in that form of the game.
"In one-day cricket I think we've got a clearer idea," Flower told reporters in the Caribbean. "We had some success against South Africa at the end of last season. We also went to India and even though we were soundly beaten in India, our batsmen were quite consistent and I think we have a better idea of how we to go about playing one-day cricket than Twenty20 cricket."
Even so, the pressure of England's lack of success will be an added factor as they attempt to regain some sort of momentum. "It gets more difficult," said Flower. "We are desperate for a win, definitely. The good thing about sport is you put yourself on the line all the time and that's the exciting thing about it. In the one-day game there is no grey area, you're either going to win or lose, take the plaudits or take the hits.
"As an international cricketer, you're always under a certain amount of pressure. As a team, you're under pressure to win the game and, as an individual, you're under pressure to succeed and selection matters put you under pressure. You cannot hide from that and players have to find their own way of dealing with the pressures of international cricket. If you can, you'll have a successful career but if you can't, you won't."
Even a token amount of success in the one-dayers will aid Flower's bid to become the permanent successor to Peter Moores, with Ashley Giles, Graham Ford and the current West Indies coach John Dyson also in the frame. But all such thoughts are firmly in the future, as far as Flower is concerned.
"This one-day series is very important and not just for me and the job situation," he said. "To be honest the job is the last thing on my mind. It's important for us to have a good one-day series because we are representing England. It's been a long, hard winter, but we look at these five games now as a separate tournament and we want to win this section of the tour."