24 April 2009

England have Flower power

Andy Flower’s appointment as England coach ended a long, drawn-out selection process that always seemed likely to end with the announcement of England’s second Zimbabwean team leader.

The prolonged nature of this saga attracted much criticism, not least because Graham Ford, an early front-runner for the post, pulled out due to the excessive time frame involved. The ECB used a head-hunting firm that came up with a group of names any English fan could have done for free.

However, whilst the national team’s hierarchy did little to improve its recently damaged reputation, the best man for the job has ended up being appointed. This was not necessarily the case when Duncan Fletcher needed replacing two years ago; indeed, there are many who claim Tom Moody is still the ideal candidate, as he was when Peter Moores was promoted.

Moody did want to relocate to England, a major factor that prevented Ford, Gary Kirsten and Mickey Arthur from declaring sustained interest in the role. All this, as well as Ashley Giles’ inexperience, left the way clear for Flower.

Flower has had a far from smooth progression through the England coaching ranks. His inexperience is easy to miss – he retired from playing in September 2006 – and his appointment as batting coach coincided with a downturn in form of many England batsmen.

Flower was also on Kevin Pietersen’s hit-list over the winter, but the former skipper seems to have softened his stance. Of more importance is the new coach’s relationship with the current captain, and Flower and Andrew Strauss have an excellent understanding.

This, combined with Flower’s straight talking and honesty has made him popular with the media and he should be given plenty of time to settle into his new job.

However, results are what counts and Flower knows England are in a slump. Winning the Ashes might be too much to ask, but gaining revenge against West Indies may be a better cricket bet. It will also help the new coach prove that he really is the best man for the job.


Freddy said...

He has proven to be quite a good coach.

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