England coach Flower given full support of board to stay in charge

Andy Flower
Andy Flower
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andy FLOWER is one of the best cricket coaches of all time, according to England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier.

Speculation in recent weeks has suggested the 45-year-old, who first took the role of England coach in 2009 and has guided them to three Ashes successes, will step down from his role following the ongoing series in Australia.

However, Collier expects the former Zimbabwe batsman to remain in the role after the current tour, where England have relinquished their hold on the Ashes after trailing 3-0 with two Tests remaining.

“It has obviously been disappointing to lose the Ashes after such a successful run,” said Collier.

“Expectations were high and clearly we have under performed.

“We have to give credit to Australia, they have fully deserved Ashes victory – we have got no excuses.

“Andy has the total, full confidence of the board. He has done an outstanding job, not just as England team director but prior to that.

“We believe we have got one of the best men in world cricket and we hope Andy will take us forward well in to the future and certainly in to the 2015 Ashes.

“He certainly has our full backing. We believe he is the best man for the role and we see no reason to change that. We believe Andy is one of the best coaches, not only in world cricket today, but one of the best coaches of all time.”

Collier will be in Melbourne for the fourth Test but does not anticipate holding conversations regarding Flower’s future whilst the series is ongoing.

He said: “We have had discussions with Andy, he is always very committed to England and clearly everyone assesses their position from time to time but all I can say is that the ECB feel we have an outstanding coach.

“We will wait until well after the series, I don’t think it is appropriate to talk in those matters during a series, Andy wouldn’t want that and we don’t want that.

“We have two Test matches to win but we are very confident he will lead us to further success in the near and medium-term future.”

n South Africa drew a gripping first Test against India at the Wanderers – having raised hope of a Test-record run-chase of 458.

AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis batted throughout the afternoon session to stave off defeat and with 127 needed in a minimum 30 overs after tea, an improbable home win was still possible.

The pair each pushed on to their centuries and South Africa appeared favourites to win until Du Plessis was run out for 134.

Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn left it too late to pursue the 16 runs still needed and their side finished eight shy on 450-8.

The West Indies’ 418 to beat Australia in 2003 remains the highest successful chase in Tests, though South Africa’s was the third-highest fourth-innings total.