The latest casualty of England’s woeful tour of Australia is head coach Andy Flower, and former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace him.
England has now lost five Tests, four one-dayers, two Twenty20 matches, two senior players, one struggling fast bowler and a head coach during its three months down under, and the future of self-obsessed batsman Kevin Pietersen is still up in the air.
Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad admitted after England lost a third series to Australia on Friday night that the end of the tour couldn’t come quickly enough, and that was hours before Flower – the respected Zimbabwean who in five years in the job guided England to three Ashes triumphs, a series win in India and (briefly) the No.1 Test ranking – announced his resignation.
”Following the recent very disappointing Ashes defeat it is clear to me that this is now time for England cricket, led by Alastair Cook, to rebuild with a new set of values and goals,” said Flower, who added that the next team director should coach England in all three formats.
”The opportunity to start with a clean slate and to instil methods to ensure England cricket is moving in the right direction will be an incredibly exciting challenge for someone but I do not feel like I am in a position to undertake that challenge.
”This has been a very difficult decision and I remain committed to England cricket and would like to wish Alastair Cook and [incoming managing director] Paul Downton every success. I will remain in my position as a selector for the time being and am exploring possible roles within the ECB.”
Ashley Giles, who coaches England in the short formats, has a chance to establish himself as frontrunner to take over from Flower if the team does well on the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and at the World Twenty20 tournament, but the ECB is expected to advertise the role or hire headhunters to find the right candidate. Contenders may include former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming (who has coached the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL), former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody and Gillespie, who has coached Yorkshire to County Championship promotion and a runners-up finish in the Championship in his first two seasons with the county.
Gillespie could not be reached for comment. The former Test quick is a close friend of Australian coach Darren Lehmann and is said to have instilled a similar sense of enjoyment in his players as Lehmann has in the Australians since taking over from the sacked Mickey Arthur last June.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan wants a coaching dream team of Kirsten and Paul Collingwood, the retired batsman who has just helped coach Scotland to qualification for the World Cup.
”I guess Ashley Giles will have the first opportunity to stake his claim. I would get Paul Collingwood into the fold as soon as possible. He has too good a cricket brain to allow it to be put to service by someone else. If England have become a bit robotic, a bit dependent on computer information, then Colly is ideal to counter that,” Vaughan wrote in a column for the Telegraph. ”But, if they want the best – and only the best should be good enough – I would be tempted to do whatever it takes to bring in Gary Kirsten … Look at what he achieved in India and South Africa, getting his teams to play with calmness and mental strength.”
ECB chairman Giles Clarke gave his unequivocal support for Cook to continue as captain despite his personal capitulation against Australia but refused to be drawn on the future of Pietersen.
A clearer indication will come on Thursday when England names its squad for the one-day series in West Indies and World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. ”I have spent zero time on him or whatever he or the selectors are choosing to do,” said Clarke, who described Giles as a strong candidate. ”He played a lot of cricket for England and is respected in the game. It may well be that other outstanding candidates emerge as Paul Downton leads the process.”
Flower’s resignation amounts to another scalp for the Australians. Mitchell Johnson took Jonathan Trott way out of his comfort zone before he went home with a stress-related illness while the batsmen hit Graeme Swann into retirement. And Steven Finn regressed to the point he could not be selected.
”I think a few of the guys are looking forward to having two weeks at home in their own bed and not thinking about cricket for a while,” said Broad.
With aap, Telegraph, London
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.