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 Ashes-winner 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 England team seek to put a miserable winter 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 made an instant 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-of-the-match tops it off.
“It’s a great moment for me, and I hope there will be more like that over the coming weeks.”