Flower would welcome review

  • Last Updated: December 30 2013, 22:38 GMT

Andy Flower is all in favour of a review into England's Ashes failings this winter and appears intent on staying on as coach in the months and years ahead.

Andy Flower: His future remains in doubt
Andy Flower: His future remains in doubt

Flower will meet with the new managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Paul Downton, to discuss his future following a defeat in Melbourne which leaves the tourists 4-0 down in the series with one match to play.

The England coach spoke with enthusiasm, however, about the challenges ahead for him - not just in the final Test in Sydney, starting on Friday, but also in trying to help revive England's fortunes thereafter.

England were last whitewashed in Australia, for only the second time in their history, just two tours ago and subsequently commissioned the Schofield Report to try to ensure there would never be a repeat.

The far-reaching recommendations came to fruition, especially in the Flower era which began two years later and culminated in a prized Ashes series victory Down Under in 2010-11 - as well as two home successes against Australia and, fleetingly, number one position in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.

The events of the past two months have been a world away from that, though, and hit a new low on Sunday with the eight-wicket defeat at the MCG.

"I think it would be absolutely right to look into the reasons why we haven't done well in this series," Flower said on Monday.

"I also think it's important that (you do that) when you have a very successful series.

"So, for example after the 2010-11 series here, there was a report done on why it was successful.

"On this occasion, it hasn't been successful - and I think there should be some sort of review as to why, certainly."

As things stand - and, of course, they could change in Sydney - Flower appears to envisage his own continued involvement, as well as that of Cook as captain.

"I think the prospect of building a new, successful England side would excite any coach," he said.

"The England job is one of the bigger jobs in international cricket, and I'm very proud to have been a part of it so far.

"I think any coach would be excited working with players like (Joe) Root and (Ben) Stokes - and we've got a youngster in (Scott) Borthwick that's just been added to the squad as well.

"That will be exciting for our coaches ... we've seen a little bit of talent, and a little bit of the future, in those players.

"I know Alastair and I will work hard to get the most out of those young guys, and work together for the betterment of English cricket."

Stage one, however, may be Flower's Sydney summit with Downton.

He said: "I will be meeting with him in Sydney, and we will talk about the future of the leadership of the national team - with regards the coach's position.

"But I'm very motivated to contribute to English cricket, and that's what I'm going to do."

In the immediate term, that means somehow striving to avoid that whitewash.

Stinging critiques have abounded in the last 24 hours of England's shambolic performance at the MCG, where they turned a hard-earned winning position into another landslide defeat.

"We are all responsible for this result - management staff as well as the players," added Flower, who insists England can still emerge stronger after their harrowing experiences here.

"We are always looking for change, and change for the good," he added.

"One of our principles is to look for constant improvement. In good times, we look to change and improve.

"This obviously is one of the tough times, and sometimes through adversity there will be change for good as well.

"Sometimes these are great learning environments."

He includes himself as well as his players in that statement.

"Certainly, when I examine my role in the tour, I ask myself tough questions," he said.

"But my focus at the moment is the Sydney Test match ... we've got the opportunity of two days of preparation to get into as good and positive a state of mind as possible to take on that challenge of the fifth Test."

The balance Flower is searching for lies between resignation and recrimination.

"We don't want people to accept losses too easily, but equally sometimes you have to face that you've been outplayed - face the facts that you've been outplayed," he said.

"The Australian side has done exactly that (to us).

"I don't believe that we should be totally distraught about where we are.

"A lot of these cricketers have had outstanding success on the international stage, and they will have success again."

They must start, he believes, by batting much better than they have than in a series of hapless collapses - principally to Mitchell Johnson.

He said: "The guys are fighting - not fighting well enough, obviously.

"Our batting over the four Tests has generally let us down. If we want to win in Sydney, we'll have to put that right."

Meanwhile, Flower would have liked Graeme Swann to have seen out England's unsuccessful Ashes tour before retiring.

Swann's decision to quit after the tourists' third successive defeat in Perth - with two Tests still to play - divided opinion.

The Ashes were gone, and 34-year-old Swann explained at the time that he felt he could no longer bowl to anywhere near the standards England required of him.

Swann revealed he had discussed his decision with Flower and captain Alastair Cook before going public with the news, and the England team director said on Monday: "Graeme Swann has done an outstanding job for England over the last six or so years.

"I think he's the seventh highest Test wicket-taker in English history.

"To do that over 60 Test matches is a great effort, and he's been a huge part of our success over the last few years.

"I've been very proud to have had him in the side, and I know he can retire very proudly.

"In saying that, I would have liked him to have seen the tour out."

Three operations on his bowling elbow had taken their toll, and Swann concluded it was in his and England's best interests for him to bow out mid-series.


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