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Andy Flower ready for new bloom

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Written by : published Wednesday 4th May 2011

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After guiding England to third in the ICC Test rankings, claiming Twenty20 glory and leading the way to two Ashes victories, Andy Flower has blossomed into a saviour of English cricketing pride.

Flower, like Duncan Fletcher before him, has become the next vigilante of English cricket – taking from the rich Australian dominance and giving to the Poms, poor from decades of solitude. That little urn is here to stay.

The former Zimbabwe batsman penned a new deal as Team Director of English cricket to keep him in the role that has brought him success since permanently taking the job two years ago.

“I wanted to create a winning England team,” he said of his appointment in 2009, “and I am very pleased with the advances we have made as a squad in all forms of the game.

“Regaining the Ashes in 2009 and retaining them last winter and the 2010 World Twenty20 title are obvious highlights, but there is still plenty more we want to achieve in the longer term.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to build on the considerable progress we have made to date as a squad and remain fully committed to developing the side and ensuring we are in a position to realise our objective of becoming the number one side in the world.”

Flower will have that opportunity sooner rather than later, with a four-test series against number one test nation, India, looming.

“We have made no secret of our determination to become the number one side in the world,” continued Flower. “I feel we have been making steady progress.

“I firmly believe we have the talent among the playing squad and management team to help us realise our ambitions and am looking forward to testing ourselves against quality opposition this summer and beyond.”

Back in the early millennium, Fletcher, another former Zimbabwean international, was busy reprieving English cricket from virtual non-existence by taking them on a record eight-test match winning streak; beating New Zealand 3-0, West Indies 4-0 and the first test against South Africa in 2004.

All this culminated in what has been labelled ‘the greatest test series ever played’ as England beat Australia 2-1 to regain the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

After a brief lull, that saw Fletcher lose his job, Flower took the wheel of English cricket’s proverbial car, or pedalo, and simply put it in a higher gear.

England have been coasting on the outer lane of the cricketing motorway ever since, climbing from sixth to third in the test rankings under 43-year old Flower.

That has included a repeat of the 2005 Ashes series – a 2-1 victory at home – and a World Twenty20 title in 2010.

However, the biggest highlight of Flower’s tenure is that of the Ashes victory over the winter of 2010/11 – England’s first on Australian soil in 24 years.

More impressive was the way in which England won the series. Records of all type and calibre were broken from being the first side ever to inflict more than one innings defeat on Australia in Australia, to having surpassed 500 runs in a single innings four times; the first time this has been achieved in the history of English cricket.

Andy Flower is in full bloom. He is not about to stop.

About the author Joe Smith

Joe Smith

My name is Joe Smith and I currently attend the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. I am in the first year of a Sports Journalism BA Hons degree with a view to becoming a professional sports journalist at a national newspaper. I help with the running of Caistor Town Cricket Club's website and also contribute to WriteAngleMedia, a company associated with various midalnds-based newspapers, reporting on semi-professional (non-league) football matches. My top three sports are cricket, football and tennis, closely followed by rugby league. I follow many sports teams, but  my favoured clubs are: Grimsby Town (football/soccer), Lancashire County Cricket Club and Huddersfield Giants (rugby league).

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