Former coach Flower to help talent blossom

NEW ROLE: Former England coach Andy Flower has been appointed technical director of elite coaching by the ECB

NEW ROLE: Former England coach Andy Flower has been appointed technical director of elite coaching by the ECB

First published in Sport

ANDY FLOWER will help mould England’s long-term succession policy for players of the future, in his new role as technical director of elite coaching.

Flower’s hugely successful tenure as team director ended on a major low point in this winter’s Ashes whitewash, after which he resigned.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Flower himself, made it clear when he left the post he had held for five years that the intention was to return in a different position.

It has taken little more than a month to identify and agree a role to the satisfaction of both parties, in which Flower will be based at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough where he will oversee the development of prospective internationals.

It is hoped the 45-year-old can enhance a programme which has already helped to deliver current England players such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes – among many others.

Flower was a triple Asheswinner before the one tour too many, which resulted in the need for a ’new era’ following not only his resignation but then the controversial axing of record runscorer Kevin Pietersen.

He is enthused by his new job, however.

‘‘I see this as a great opportunity for me as I start a new phase of my career,’’ he said.

‘‘This role offers me a chance to make a real contribution to the ability and character of England players and coaches in the years to come.’’ ECB managing director Paul Downton added: ‘‘The ECB is delighted (to be) able to retain a man of Andy Flower’s experience and quality.

‘‘His record over the last five years speaks for itself, and the ECB and Andy are excited about the future.’’ As the present England team seek to put a miserable winter to date behind them, their series-levelling one-day international win over West Indies on Sunday featured a debut man-of-the-match performance from a player indicative of the development programme.

At 28, Stephen Parry is a relative late starter in England colours.

But the Lancashire slow left-armer wasted no time making an impact, taking three for 32 as England bowled West Indies out for 159.

‘‘It’s an amazing start,’’ he said.

‘‘I was just interested in us winning the game, but to influence it and put in a good performance and get man-ofthe- match tops it off.

‘‘I was in a bit of shock. But it’s a great moment for me, and I hope there will be more like that over the coming weeks.’’ Parry is also in England’s squad to travel to Bangladesh for the ICC World Twenty20, via Barbados for three shortformat matches against the Windies.

After being named in the provisional 30-man squad for the global tournament, he hardly dare hope he might make the final cut.

‘‘My heart was saying ‘come on, let’s get picked’, but my head was telling me it wasn’t realistic,’’ he said.

Parry has made gradual progress into the England reckoning, despite playing only six first-class matches in six seasons thanks to the competition at Old Trafford from veteran Gary Keedy and more recently Simon Kerrigan.

But last year, he was stopped in his tracks when a wayward throw-down from Lancashire coach Peter Moores broke his arm.

‘‘When something like that happens, you worry and wonder if it will set right,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got a plate in my arm now, but it’s fine.

‘‘I was batting in practice coming towards the end of a session and Mooresey tried to bowl me a yorker and it was a ‘flat one’ – and it just hit me straight on the arm.’’ Eight months on, Parry can reflect on a debut significantly more successful than Kerrigan’s torrid experience in his first international match - last August’s Ashes Test at The Oval.

  • Australia took complete control of the deciding third Test against South Africa on an elongated third day in Cape Town.

Replying to Australia’s 494 for seven declared, the Proteas were bowled out for 287 as Mitchell Johnson took four for 42 and Ryan Harris three for 63.

Australia closed on 27 without loss in their second innings for a lead of 234.

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