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Who wants to be England coach?

Andy Flower, Graham Ford and Ashley Giles

By Pranav Soneji

Wanted: An outstanding coach for talented but inconsistent team to "become and remain the most successful and respected cricket nation in the world".

The Friday 6 March deadline has now passed and all applications have been received and so begins the England and Wales Cricket Board's search to find a world-class "team director" to succeed the sacked Peter Moores.

While the job title has been embellished, the description remains exactly the same; like Mexican food - the same thing wrapped up in a different way.

606: DEBATE

After having its filthy laundry so publically aired following Kevin Pietersen's less-than-graceful fallout with Peter Moores, the ECB is taking no risks this time.

So determined is the governing body on employing the right man for the role, it has hired executive headhunting firm Odgers Ray & Berndtson to handle the recruitment process.

Highly prized Australian duo John Buchanan and Tom Moody have ruled themselves out of contention, so who are the leading contenders for the job?

ANDY FLOWER

Andy Flower
Player statistics: 63 Tests, 4794 runs, average: 51.54

Current role: Assistant coach, England

Nationality: British (formerly Zimbabwean)

Experience: Assistant coach since May 2007

Strengths: "Andy was very strong tactically and he's someone who thinks a lot about his game, especially batting. He was very thorough in his preparations and put thought into each series, the conditions the team would play in, the opposition he would play against."
Former Zimbabwe team-mate Heath Streak

Weaknesses: Was associated with Moores having served as his right-hand man, while former captain Kevin Pietersen asked for his removal along with Moores.

Job prospects: Remarkably, Pietersen could well be a key ally in his quest for the main role. "He was a world-class player and has the makings of a world-class coach," said Pietersen, who has been impressed by Flower's approach in the West Indies.

Your thoughts: "He seems to have a good relationship with Andrew Strauss, goes about his job without making any fuss and says the right things, he wasn't afraid to comment on Bell and Harmison recently."
Gingerheadman16 on 606

GRAHAM FORD

Graham Ford
First-class career: seven matches, 162 runs

Current role: Director of cricket, Kent

Nationality: South African

Experience: Natal, South Africa A, South Africa, Kent

Strengths: "He recognises the individual needs of people as every cricketer is different. He's always there when you need him holding a mitt for the bowlers or throwing down balls for the batters. He's not there necessarily to teach you how to bowl or bat, but more to improve your skills. Graham is always thinking ahead, always looking forward to the next match, and his record speaks for himself."
Kent seamer Martin Saggers

Weaknesses: Turned down the high-profile India job in 2007 for personal reasons. Is well-known to be reclusive towards the press - a potential problem for the ECB, which is demanding "Excellent media skills".

Job prospects: Has excellent first-class and international experience, as well as glowing recommendation from Pietersen, whom he coached at Natal.

Your thoughts: "As a Kent supporter, I'm not sure about Ford. Our Division One position has got worse over the past few years, so much so years such that we have now been relegated. Is this the type of track record that fills one with confidence, although he is a 'good bloke'?"
Stjohnbrownon 606

ASHLEY GILES

Ashley Giles
Player statistics: 54 Tests, 1421 runs, 143 wickets

Current role: Director of cricket, Warwickshire; selector, England

Nationality: British

Experience: Warwickshire, England spin coach

Strengths: "He has only been our coach for 18 months, but he understands the game, understands our roles in the side and prepares game plans for different situations. He's very big on training hard and play easy. If you push yourself in practice, then out in the middle the game becomes second nature.

"As a player he was very resourceful, but as a coach he is technically very sound. He also wants us to become the fittest team in the country."
Warwickshire batsman Jim Troughton.

Weaknesses: Has only been coaching full-time since retiring from playing in 2007. His lack of international experience could count against him, especially after the Moores saga.

Job prospects: Is highly rated by former coach Duncan Fletcher and has influential roles within the England set-up, but this opportunity may well be too early in his coaching career.

Your thoughts: "I'm not convinced Giles has the experience or authoritative personality required. He's also probably too close to some of the players."
PlasticGloryHunteron 606

DAV WHATMORE

Dav Whatmore
Player statistics: Seven Tests, 293 runs

Current role: Director of India's National Cricket Academy

Nationality: Australian

Experience: Led Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup, one-day double with Lancashire in 1998, Bangladesh coach

Strengths: "Dav has so much experience in first-class cricket and he is a very down-to-earth character. He is a big fan of letting players express themselves and not getting bogged down in the technical side of things. He always gave you confidence go play your natural game and not think too deeply about technical flaws. He's great fun around the dressing room, although he would give a dressing down if it was deserved."
Former Lancashire and England wicketkeeper Warren Hegg.

Weaknesses: Likes to be his own man with his own ideas and may not fit into the ECB's ideal mould, especially with its coaching and selection structure.

Job prospects: Has produced results with Sri Lanka, and to a lesser extent with Bangladesh, both teams which operate with a minuscule budget compared to England. Has domestic experience coaching Lancashire, but may well be content to oversee the development of India's most promising players in Bangalore.

Your thoughts: "Come on ECB. Dav Whatmore. Look at what he did with the limited resources available in Bangladesh."
Average_gilo on 606

Additional reporting by Sam Lyon

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see also
Kent coach ponders England role
06 Mar 09 |  England
Moores happy with England reign
13 Feb 09 |  England
Lehmann 'will not coach England'
12 Jan 09 |  England
Moody's future 'not decided yet'
11 Apr 07 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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