Cricket: Summit called to get to the root of Ashes Tour failings

England's Andy Flower speaks during a press conference at the Como Hotel, Melbourne, Australia. PIC: PA
England's Andy Flower speaks during a press conference at the Como Hotel, Melbourne, Australia. PIC: PA
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Andy Flower is all in favour of a review into England’s Ashes failings this winter and appears intent on staying on as coach in the months and years ahead.

Flower will meet with the new managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Paul Downton, to discuss his future following a defeat in Melbourne which leaves the tourists 4-0 down in the series with one match to play.

The England coach spoke with enthusiasm, however, about the challenges ahead for him – not just in the final Test in Sydney, starting on Friday, but also in trying to help revive England’s fortunes thereafter.

England were last whitewashed in Australia, for only the second time in their history, just two tours ago and subsequently commissioned the Schofield Report to try to ensure there would never be a repeat.

The far-reaching recommendations came to fruition, especially in the Flower era which began two years later and culminated in a prized Ashes series victory Down Under in 2010-11 – as well as two home successes against Australia and, fleetingly, number one position in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings.

The events of the past two months have been a world away from that, though, and hit a new low on Sunday with the eight-wicket defeat at the MCG.

“I think it would be absolutely right to look into the reasons why we haven’t done well in this series,” Flower said on Monday.

“I also think it’s important that (you do that) when you have a very successful series.

“So, for example after the 2010-11 series here, there was a report done on why it was successful.

“On this occasion, it hasn’t been successful – and I think there should be some sort of review as to why, certainly.”

As things stand – and, of course, they could change in Sydney – Flower appears to envisage his own continued involvement, as well as that of Alastair Cook as captain.

“I think the prospect of building a new, successful England side would excite any coach,” he said.

“The England job is one of the bigger jobs in international cricket, and I’m very proud to have been a part of it so far.

“I think any coach would be excited working with players like (Joe) Root and (Ben) Stokes – and we’ve got a youngster in (Scott) Borthwick that’s just been added to the squad as well.

“That will be exciting for our coaches ... we’ve seen a little bit of talent, and a little bit of the future, in those players.

“I know Alastair and I will work hard to get the most out of those young guys, and work together for the betterment of English cricket.”

Stage one, however, may be Flower’s Sydney summit with Downton.

He said: “I will be meeting with him in Sydney, and we will talk about the future of the leadership of the national team - with regards the coach’s position.

“But I’m very motivated to contribute to English cricket, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

In the immediate term, that means somehow striving to avoid that whitewash.

Stinging critiques have abounded in the last 24 hours of England’s shambolic performance at the MCG, where they turned a hard-earned winning position into another landslide defeat.

“We are all responsible for this result – management staff as well as the players,” added Flower, who insists England can still emerge stronger after their harrowing experiences here.