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Ashes 2013-14: Ken Schofield defends Andy Flower

Ashes 2013-14: Ken Schofield defends Andy Flower
England coach Andy Flower has been under a lot of pressure after his side losing the Ashes series to Australia at Perth © Getty Image

 

Sydney: Dec 19, 2013

 

A key architect of the revival of English cricket on Thursday backed under-fire coach Andy Flower after the team meekly surrendered the Ashes to Australia.

 

Ken Schofield, who authored a report on the way forward for England after their 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2006-07, called for Flower to remain in the job after the current series ends.

 

Flower’s coaching future is unclear after his first Ashes defeat. There is speculation he may not continue but Schofield said he was a strong supporter.

 

“I would like to think the fact these results have gone so wrong would want him to have another go and not leave on a negative. Only he would know,” Schofield told Fairfax Media.

 

“But I would think everyone in English cricket and British sport wants Andy Flower to go on — we think the world of him.”

 

Schofield also does not believe another in-depth review of English cricket is required, despite losing the Ashes after three heavy Test defeats to Michael Clarke’s Australians.

 

He believes England have been on the slide since being beaten at home by South Africa in 2012 under Andrew Strauss — a defeat that cost them the top Test ranking.

 

Batsmen Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior and Ian Bell are among those whose average since the start of last year is lower than their career mark.

 

“I think it shows this particular side, which I see as a continuum of the [Andrew] Strauss-Cook side with the same senior players, probably peaked [just before] they lost at home to South Africa,” Schofield said.

 

Schofield, whose 2007 report recommended the implementation of the existing structure in the English game, called for a calm approach when reviewing England’s debacle on this Ashes tour.

 

“To be clear on this, the first thing must be to say to the Australian team, they’ve come forward very, very strongly in all departments,” he said.

 

“Does that mean England should change the system? No. Does it mean they should make wholesale changes of the team? No.

 

“Does it mean they need a fresh look at identifying further fresh faces and take a look at their own internals as to why they’ve been outplayed in every department — the answer to that is yes.”

 

Meanwhile, Mickey Arthur has defended his coaching record while expressing pride in Australia for winning back the Ashes.

 

The decision to sack Arthur and replace him with Darren Lehmann just three weeks before the previous series in England earlier this year was a controversial one.

 

Arthur said he was happy for Lehmann and his team, despite finding the constant references to his departure as a pivotal moment in the revival hard to swallow. ”I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult,” he said.

 

“We didn’t have a lot of those players over the time I was involved. I didn’t think England would play so badly but Australia have been fantastic.

 

“I was emotional [on Tuesday] when I saw them get the urn back because I know how much hard work has gone into it, including my own, and how much we had spoken about getting those Ashes back.”

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