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Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 17:34 UK

Flower takes England coaching job

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We can win the Ashes - Flower

England have named ex-Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower as the man to oversee their bid to regain the Ashes.

Flower, 40, was confirmed as team director at Lord's after a temporary spell as acting head coach following Peter Moores' sacking in January.

Flower presided over England's winter tour to the West Indies, where Andrew Strauss' side recovered from a 1-0 Test series loss to win the one-day series.

Flower's first Test in charge begins on 6 May against the West Indies.

Managing director for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Hugh Morris said he was delighted to secure the services of the former world number one batsman, who joined the national team's backroom as assistant coach in May 2007.

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"As a player, Andy was ranked number one in the world and the ECB believes he has the drive and ambition to be just as successful in his new post," he said.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew believes Flower's honest work ethic has won the respect of the England's players.

"He will straighten things out and settle things down in the team," he said. "The players will get a lot more straight talking."

Flower admitted he had been initially reticent to forward his name for the role vacated by Moores, who was sacked following a public fall-out with ex-captain Kevin Pietersen.

"When I went on that West Indian tour I didn't know whether I wanted to apply for this job or not. Halfway through I had made up my mind that I did," he said.

"I'm very honoured to be given the position. I believe the last three months will stand me in good stead.

"I was interim coach for that tour, now that I'm in charge, so to speak, things change, definitely."

The ECB had appointed a City-based firm to oversee the recruitment of a new team director, although approaches to high-profile Australians Tom Moody, John Buchanan as well as South Africans Mickey Arthur and Graeme Ford, were turned down.

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Morris revealed he had received 30 applicants for the role, but Flower's CV stood out above the rest.

"We were very happy with the level of candidates and the standard of candidates who applied for the job," he said.

"We believe Andy has the potential to become a first-class coach. He has a clear vision of where he wants to take the England cricket team in years to come.

"He has got a strong reputation in the game.

"Andy did a terrific job in the West Indies. We see Andy as a person to take England forward. He is a young man who has impressed in the West Indies."

England's first Test squad of the summer will be announced on Sunday ahead of the first Test against the West Indies in May.

Captain Andrew Strauss returns from leave on Thursday and Flower revealed he will begin working on strategies for the summer almost immediately.

The pair have formed a good working relationship during their time in the Caribbean.

"I respect him, he's a very good cricketer and captain," Flower said of Strauss. "It's not all important that we always get on, healthy debate between leaders is a good thing."

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He also revealed there is no rift with former captain Pietersen, who had demanded Flower's removal, along with Moores, in an email to the ECB following the two-Test tour to India in December 2008.

"I think the perception from outside is a little exaggerated," said Flower. "He brings a lot of confidence and energy.

"He's very important to English cricket. He's a very fine player. Kevin and I have always got on pretty well and that hasn't changed."

Flower's appointment was welcomed by fast bowler Stuart Broad, one of the few England players to enhance his reputation during the tour to the Caribbean.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with him in the West Indies - a very honest bloke," said the Nottinghamshire player.

"Since he joined the England set-up in 2007 he's really worked on my batting and helped me develop so that's very pleasing.

"As I say, he's a top man and I look forward to working under him for many years to come."

County team-mate Ryan Sidebottom was equally effusive with praise for Flower.

Members of the victorious England team celebrate their Ashes win in 2005

Relive England's 2005 Ashes glory

"I think it's a great acquisition," said the left-arm seamer. "All the England guys know him and he gets on well will them. To have him around is great."

Flower enjoyed a successful Test career for Zimbabwe, recording 12 centuries in 63 matches at an average of 51.54.

He retired from international cricket after the 2003 World Cup, following a protest by Flower and his team-mate Henry Olonga over what they called the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe.

Olonga believes his compatriot is more than capable of managing the different characters in the England team.

"As a team-mate he was pretty forthright in his views," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "He calls a spade a spade."

Flower played for Essex for five seasons, the last of those in 2006, where his skill and experience helped nurture the careers of the county's current England batsmen Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara.

England face arguably their busiest and most important summer for years.

After the Test and one-day series against West Indies in May, early June is occupied by the ICC World Twenty20 which England host.

The first of the five-match Ashes series against Australia starts in Cardiff on 8 July, four years after the side captained by Michael Vaughan and coached by Duncan Fletcher won an epic contest.

Australia regained the Ashes by thrashing an England team led by Andrew Flintoff 5-0 on home soil in 2006-2007.



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see also
Flower's power
15 Apr 09 |  England
Moores happy with England reign
13 Feb 09 |  England
Strauss seeks new coach decision
07 Apr 09 |  England
Windies deny Dyson England link
19 Mar 09 |  England


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