Giles tipped to succeed Flower

Ashley Giles is already England's limited overs coach

Ashley Giles is already England's limited overs coach

First published in National Sport News © by

Ashley Giles has been described as a "very strong candidate" to replace Andy Flower as England team director.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke has backed the credentials of Giles, who was ushered in as limited overs coach under Flower 14 months ago.

"He's a very strong candidate," Clarke said.

"Ashley is a very valued employee of the ECB. We all have the highest regard for him both as a man and as a coach.

"He is a man of great integrity and great capabilities. He played a lot of cricket for England and is very respected in the game."

New ECB managing director Paul Downton will begin the task of finding a replacement for Flower after he stepped down on Friday.

Downton will have time to mull over any decision, with England not due to play their next Test until they host Sri Lanka at Lord's in June.

Until then, Giles will have the benefit of a live audition as he leads England on the tour of the Caribbean before heading to Bangladesh for the World Twenty20.

Victory on the sub-continent would significantly boost the 40-year-old former Warwickshire coach's prospects of being appointed.

Since taking over the shorter formats, Giles has already led England to a Champions Trophy final, last June, although he has endured a difficult time in Australia, where his team - without some rested first-choice names - lost the ODI series 4-1 before falling 2-0 behind in the Twenty20s ahead of Sunday's final match in Sydney.

Downton is yet to draw up a shortlist of replacements for Flower, who will leave big shoes to fill after winning the Ashes three times, clinching the 2010 World Twenty20 and leading England to the top of the rankings in all formats during his five years in charge.

"Paul will conduct a proper process," Clarke said. "There may well be other outstanding candidates that emerge.

"It will be a matter for Paul and those he chooses to advise him on that to decide who the right person is."

The new team director will almost certainly work with Alastair Cook as captain, who has been roundly backed after revealing some self-doubts about his leadership during the ODI series defeat.

The 29-year-old subsequently voiced his eagerness to stay on, after a week speaking with Giles and his team-mates in Perth.

"I expect Alastair Cook to be captain of the team for the first Test next summer and for in the ODIs at home," Clarke said.

Flower had suggested immediately after the Ashes whitewash that he did have the required hunger to continue that process.

Three-and-a-half weeks later, however, and after talks with Downton, his mind has been changed.

Agreement that England needed to unify the management structure was at the centre of that and, with Flower unwilling to again coach all three formats, he opted to step down.

"This was Andy's decision," Clarke said.

"He felt going forward - in the new Cook era - that the three formats should be unified under one coach.

"That was his fundamental decision. Once that decision had been reached that he didn't want to be coach of all three, it was clear what his next decision would be."

Flower is now set to take on a new role at the ECB - most likely at Loughborough in player development - but his exit as team director is set to create new questions over Kevin Pietersen's future.

Two days after the Ashes, Flower released a statement denying he had made a 'him or me' ultimatum to the ECB over Pietersen.

The controversial batsman is reported to have met with Downton this week, as his time in an England shirt remains the point of much scrutiny.

Some light is set to be shed on the matter on Thursday, when England are due to name their squad for the limited-overs series in the Caribbean.

Giles has stated he intends to take the squad he will use at the World Twenty20, with Pietersen at present on the provisional 30-man list for that tournament, which starts in Bangladesh on March 16.

When that squad was announced earlier this month, Giles described Pietersen as a "million-pound asset".

England have otherwise been reluctant to discuss the future of Pietersen - or any player - post-Ashes, with Cook due to meet Downton this week to review the tour of Australia.

Clarke was similarly cagey when Pietersen's name was brought up at a press conference in Melbourne on Saturday, saying: "Today's about Andy Flower.

"I have to say I've spent zero time on Kevin Pietersen or whatever Kevin's choosing to do, or the selectors are choosing to do."

Clarke was more willing to eulogise Flower's impressive record in charge, describing him as "the most successful coach in English cricket's history".

The 60-year-old also expects Flower to remain on at the ECB.

"Andy Flower has a great deal to give English cricket," he said. "There are some other major roles that Paul Downton will discuss with him. I'm very confident he will remain with us.

"I think he has a lot to bring to the development of English cricket and the development of our young players in particular."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree