ANDY Flower has left his post as England’s Team Director.
Flower was called to a meeting at Lord’s on Thursday where he was told his time is up by the new managing director of the ECB Paul Downton, who officially starts in his post on Saturday.
In a peculiar twist at least one senior member of the ECB’s communications team was still flatly denying that Flower’s position was under any kind of threat as late as Friday lunchtime in Australia.
However shortly after an overwhelming eight wicket defeat at the MCG in the second Twenty20 international news filtered through that Flower, who has been England’s head coach since 2009, had left his post immediately.
It is understood that Flower will stay on in some capacity at the ECB but will not be coaching the England team
Arguably England’s most successful coach of the modern era, Flower has now become the first and most spectacular casualty of a horrific tour of Australia that has seen England whitewashed in the Ashes and beaten badly in all formats.
Off the field three England players have returned home ahead of times in unusual circumstances, while the relationship with Kevin Pietersen has remained toxic throughout.
Given the perceived ultimatum issued by Flower over Pietersen’s place in the England team his departure would seem to open the way for England’s most troubled and talented middle order batsman to play on in all formats should he manage to strike up a rapprochement with the captain Alastair Cook and whoever Flower’s replacement might be.
In his time in charge Flower oversaw some of the most successful moments in English cricket’s modern history.
The Ashes win of 2009 was followed by a crushingly emphatic retention of the urn away from home two years later and a third victory last summer in England.
In between England won the world Twenty20 in 2010 and won a Test series in India in 2012, as well as briefly rising to No1 in the world in all three formats.
Earlier in the day Giles Clarke the ECB chairman had hinted at the review to come, albeit wihout any hint of Flower’s imminent departure.
“Nobody disagrees that results this winter have been unacceptable,” Clarke said. “What we need to do now is to look at exactly the reasons behind these performances.” That process has now been acted on in the most decisive fashion.Advertisement
Ashley Giles, currently in charge of the short form teams, will be a starting point when it comes to thinking about successors. Giles is highly regarded by his ECB bosses, but perhaps lacks the world class coaching profile England may be looking for.