Grant William Flower
December 20, 1970, Salisbury (now Harare)
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
St George's College, Harare
The younger brother of Andy Flower, Grant was an experienced top-order batsman who began his career as an opener but then slipped down to No. 6 after success there in one-day internationals. Grant had the stubborn temperament needed to play long innings, but was also a powerful hitter when required. He was also a brilliant fielder anywhere close to the wicket, and a handy left-arm spinner at one-day level, although his bowling action was questioned occasionally.
After an impressive start to international cricket, including 82 on his debut against India in October 1992 and an unbeaten double-hundred in Zimbabwe's first ever Test win, his average in both forms of the game gradually crept down. Asked to open the batting on the 2003 England tour after his brother Andy's retirement, he failed to lead his side out of trouble, except for a matchwinning 96 not out at Trent Bridge in the NatWest Series. A broken thumb ruled him out of the 2003-04 Australian tour, meaning that for the first time in 15 years, the name `Flower' would not be on a full Zimbabwe team scoresheet.
He emerged during the dispute between the Zimbabwe board and the rebel players as spokesman for the latter, speaking his mind with courage. An introverted but amiable character, he is a fitness fanatic and spends hours in the gym. In 2004 he announced his retirement from international cricket, although that had already in effect been sealed by the dispute between the rebels and the ZCU, and signed a contract with Essex, where Andy had already established himself.
Flower spent six successful seasons with Essex, guiding the club to victory in the Friends Provident Trophy in 2008 and playing a key role in the claiming of the NatWest Pro40 Division Two title in 2009. He enjoyed a productive limited-overs season in 2010 with 527 runs at 65.87, but couldn't quite help his side to any silverware as they crashed out in the semi-finals of both the 40-over and Twenty20 competitions. In a remarkable turn-around in his relations with ZC, Flower returned to Zimbabwe and took up the post of batting coach of the national side after his final season with Essex in October 2010. He made an international comeback too, playing two ODIs against South Africa, but with limited success, and also returned to domestic cricket in Zimbabwe, captaining Mashonaland Eagles to the domestic Twenty20 title in 2010-11. It appeared a final World Cup hurrah might be on the cards, but Flower bowed out of competitive cricket before Zimbabwe's trip to Bangladesh in November 2010 and turned his full attention to coaching.
Geoffrey Dean and Liam Brickhill November 2010
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