Cricket: Flower stays candid over WAGs approach

England's cricketers have had to wait almost six weeks for today's reunion with their nearest and dearest, but Andy Flower's bottom line is that he is running an Ashes tour, not a family holiday.

England coach Flower is well aware of his and fellow management staff's responsibility to get the timing right for the arrival of his squad's wives, girlfriends and children.

It is an awkward decision he hopes he has got right and which, after some inevitable initial disagreement, he thinks everyone has accepted.

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The players will have the support of their families close at hand for the remainder of the Ashes, as they seek to retain the urn for England in Perth this week before the final two matches over Christmas and the new year in Melbourne and Sydney.

"It is quite a tricky decision to make," Flower conceded. "We are setting dates for families to be allowed - when players and families are adults and want to be free to make their own decisions about which country they travel to or the timings of those trips."

He acknowledges there are bound to be some mixed feelings over an imperfect situation, but believes the stakes are too high, as England seek to win the Ashes down under for the first time in almost a quarter-of-a-century, for him to get it wrong.

"For other people, the management, to make those decisions for them is a little galling. But someone has to make these tricky decisions, and we try to get it as right and fair as possible. We planned this a long time ago, and they were fully informed - so we had full discussions and communication about it.

"You can't get everyone agreeing to whatever dates you put in, but the players in the end did react very well to it.

"We're here to win the Test series - we aren't here for a family holiday - and I think everyone's handled it fine so far."

James Anderson is one player who will not have his wife and young family with him over the next three weeks, having only today returned from an airborne circumnavigation of the earth to witness the birth of his second daughter.

Anderson left the evening after England won the second Test in Adelaide by an innings, to go 1-0 up, and arrived back with the team this afternoon.

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Flower accepts there are qualms about the fast bowler's tiring schedule, and short preparation time before the third Test at the WACA on Thursday, but again hopes he has got a tough judgment call right.

"It's not ideal prep for him or for us, but we'll get the right amount of rest and training into him over the next few days and hope he's fine come Thursday morning."

There have been two other significant off-field pieces of man-management to occupy Flower over the past two weeks - both concerning Kevin Pietersen.

First, Pietersen produced his latest Twitter faux pas - describing groundstaff as "pathetic" over their inability to prevent rain getting on the Adelaide practice wickets.

Then, having subsequently returned to his best form with a career-high 227 in England's win there, he promptly incurred a speeding fine the day before the tour match in Melbourne.

Flower reported no disciplinary action has been required on either count.

"The tweet has been dealt with, and Kevin has been reminded of his responsibilities," he said.

"The speeding fine is a personal issue that bears little relation to anything that happens in the team."

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The coach does agree, though, that all members of the England party need to "count to 10" to stop themselves transgressing in any way off the pitch.

"We all have to do that, whether you're a player or on the staff.

"We all have to realise our responsibilities, and he's no different in that regard."