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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Cricket

Ashes: England coach Flower fights off questions about future
AFP
Melbourne, December 30, 2013
First Published: 09:01 IST(30/12/2013)
Last Updated: 09:06 IST(30/12/2013)
Andy Flower revealed Monday he will discuss his future with his new boss this week but vowed to fight on as England coach despite facing a 5-0 Ashes whitewash against Australia.
   
Flower admitted to self-reflection after he was repeatedly asked at a press conference about his role and the future of captain Alastair Cook.
   
"Certainly when I examine my role in the tour I ask myself tough questions," he told reporters in Melbourne.
   
However he gave no indication of any immediate changes at the top.
   
"My focus at the moment is the Sydney Test match," Flower said.
   
England cricket's new managing director Paul Downton has arrived in Australia and the embattled coach said they would meet in Sydney, where the final Test opens on Friday.
   
"We will talk about the future of the leadership of the national team as regards the coach's position," said Flower who took the job in 2009.
   
"But I'm very motivated to contribute to England cricket and that's what I'm going to do," he said.
   
He went on to defend his captain whose leadership, defensive field settings and inspirational qualities have all come under fire since the Ashes series began in November.
   
"Alastair Cook has captained six Test series for England and this is the first series loss that he's had," Flower said.
   
"He's done some outstanding things for England with the bat, but he's also done some excellent things as a leader inside the dressing-room and out on the field.
   
"We are all responsible for this result, the management staff as well as the players."
   
Geoffrey Boycott led the assault on Cook in his column in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday.
   
"Cook does not have the right personality or tactical awareness for captaincy," the former England opener wrote.
   
"The captain may be a popular figure in the dressing-room but when his batting fails he has nothing to fall back on."
   
Flower indicated there would be changes in the England side that imploded on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to go from a winning position to an eight-wicket defeat.
   
"I'd imagine there will be one or two changes for the Sydney Test," he said.
   
"We are always looking for change and change for the good and one of our principles is to look for constant improvement.
   
"This obviously is one of the tough times and sometimes through adversity ... there will be change for good as well, sometimes there are great learning environments.
   
"This is a very challenging time for any leader so for Alastair and it's certainly in that bracket and out of challenging times sometimes we can grow significantly."
   
Flower was asked if he wanted to build a new England side on young talent such as Ben Stokes, England's sole Ashes centurion.
   
"I think the prospect of building a new successful England side would excite any coach," the former Zimbabwean batsman said.
   
"Alastair and I will work hard to get the most out of those young guys... work together for the betterment of England cricket."
   
Flower added that he was disappointed leading spin bowler Graeme Swann retired immediately after defeat in the third Test in Perth.
   
"I would have liked him to see the tour out," he said.

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