England coach Andy Flower believes he upcoming Ashes series can help restore some of cricket’s credibility after a scandal-tainted summer.
Allegations of corruption tarnished cricket’s image during Pakistan’s recent tour of England, with three players suspended after allegedly plotting to bowl deliberate no balls for cash. All three Pakistani players deny the allegations.
The saga, which has led to suspicions being raised about a series of other matches, has continued to cast a shadow over the sport.
Flower believes however that England and Australia can provide a showcase for cricket when the latest installment of their historic rivalry gets under way with the first Test in Brisbane on November 25.
“The second half of the summer was bad for the game, there’s no doubt about that,” Flower said.
“But I think the series that Australia have just had in India was an excellent Test series, albeit only two matches long.
“With the inevitable scrutiny on an Ashes series, it should be a great spectacle for people.
“We all have a responsibility to the game to make sure its image is strong and healthy.”
Flower meanwhile is trying to dampen down the hype surrounding the forthcoming series, where England will attempt to win the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in more than 20 years.
“It is important for our guys to keep it all in perspective,” Flower said.
“Beating the Australians, we will have to be at our best to do that.
“We’re willing to take that on and confront it fully.
“But I do ask them to keep things in perspective because I think that’s the best way to go about this job. If you don’t, you can build it up into something bigger than it is.”
Flower said he was hoping to strip away the intimidating mystique of trying to beat Australia on their home soil, instead encouraging his players to look forward to the series as a career highlight.
“I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of in Australia. The series is a challenge that should be enjoyed all,” he said.
WAGs won’t be allowed
England Team's coach Andy Flower has barred the players from seeing their wives and girlfriends for the first five weeks of the Ashes tour in Australia.
The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that Flower showed his willingness to make unpopular decisions in pursuit of a first Ashes triumph in Australia for 24 years. The team leaves for England on Friday.
The first Test starts November 25 but the squad will not be allowed to see their families until after the second Test in Perth, scheduled to finish December 7.