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News

Andy Flower takes over as head coach at RCB for three years

The contracts of Mike Hesson and Sanjay Bangar, director of cricket operations and head coach respectively, have not been renewed

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
04-Aug-2023
Andy Flower is one of the most widely travelled and decorated coaches in the game  •  ICC via Getty

Andy Flower is one of the most widely travelled and decorated coaches in the game  •  ICC via Getty

Andy Flower has been appointed head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore as the franchise looks to overturn a disappointing IPL 2023, where they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Flower has come on board on a three-year term to begin with.
The decision follows a "comprehensive three-year performance review" following IPL 2023, where the team finished sixth and missed the playoffs narrowly. At RCB, Flower will reunite with Faf du Plessis, the captain, who he worked with earlier during his time as head coach of St Lucia Kings in the CPL.
Flower replaced Sanjay Bangar, the former India allrounder, in the job after having also been in talks with Rajasthan Royals for a similar position under Kumar Sangakkara. The franchise is set to appoint a new director of cricket operations who will replace Mike Hesson. This could happen "over the next couple of months," RCB vice-president Rajesh Menon said.
The new director is expected to appoint the specialist coaches, which also puts a question mark over the future of the incumbents: Adam Griffith (bowling coach), S Sriram (assistant coach) and Malolan Rangarajan (lead scout and fielding coach).
"I recognise the work put in by Mike Hesson and Sanjay Bangar, who are two coaches I respect," Flower said in an RCB statement. "I'm particularly excited to be reunited with Faf. We have worked very well together in the past I look forward to forging our partnership and relationship into something bigger and better."
Till the end of IPL 2023, Flower was head coach of Lucknow Super Giants. Under him, they made back-to-back playoffs in their first two years in the competition. In July, he was replaced by Justin Langer, the former Australia coach. Prior to his stint with LSG, Flower had been associated with Punjab Kings in the IPL.
Flower comes on board with a decorated CV. A T20 World Cup-winning coach with England in 2010, the former Zimbabwe captain has also coached teams to titles at the PSL (Multan Sultans), ILT20 (Gulf Giants), and the men's Hundred (Trent Rockets). With Flower in charge, St Lucia Kings reached the CPL final twice. Most recently, he worked with Australia as a consultant during the men's Ashes.
Hesson had stepped into the role in similar circumstances as Flower in 2019, after RCB chose not to renew their contracts with Gary Kirsten, Ashish Nehra and Vikram Solanki following a last-place finish that season.
Overall, Hesson led the team to three successive playoffs before the team fell away in their final must-win league game this year against Gujarat Titans. Bangar came on board in 2022, after Simon Katich's exit as head coach, upon Virat Kohli's recommendation.
As reported earlier, the RCB management was deliberating changes to its coaching staff with the contracts usually up for renewal around September. The franchise is believed to have been keen to give Flower enough space and time leading into the auction.
Menon also confirmed that the RCB women's team will have a new head coach in place soon - Hesson performed the role in the first season of the Women's Premier League. However, the management of the women's team is "not likely" to come under the purview of the new director of cricket. "We wanted to have just the head coach and captain drive that ship." RCB women finished fifth among six teams during the inaugural season.
Three-time IPL finalists, RCB have never won the tournament. They last had a shot at the title in 2016, where they were pipped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in a close finish.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo