Andy Flower lays blame on batsmen

England need a result on their least productive Australian ground

England’s Andy Flower: “We go to Perth and both sides start on nought for nought, and my job is to ensure that the players are as well prepared as possible for that challenge.”

England’s Andy Flower: “We go to Perth and both sides start on nought for nought, and my job is to ensure that the players are as well prepared as possible for that challenge.”

 


Andy Flower has insisted it is the problems of England’s senior players, rather than his own future as team director, that must be the focus of attention now that the squad have relocated west from an unusually cool Adelaide to a more predictably parched Perth.

“The time for reflection is not now,” Flower said as he surveyed the wreckage of England’s second consecutive mauling, which has left them needing a result on their least productive Australian ground to avoid surrendering the Ashes in the same tame manner as in 2006, when they lost the urn after the third Test in Perth and ended up being whitewashed.

“We go to Perth and both sides start on nought for nought, and my job is to ensure that the players are as well prepared as possible for that challenge. This is not a time for looking backwards. Of course you’ve got to learn lessons from the games that you’ve just played, because you don’t want to make the same mistakes again.”

No denial
Flower has still to deny the claim that appeared during the last Test of the home Ashes series at The Oval in August that he would be standing down at the end of this tour, although both the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, Giles Clarke, and the managing director of England cricket, Hugh Morris, have expressed their confidence that he will still be in charge for the home series against India in 2014.

Flower was happy to confirm that “there will be changes” to England’s team for the third Test. There was never any prospect of two spinners playing in Perth, as they did in Adelaide, so at least one change is inevitable. The big questions are whether England might consider going into the game without a specialist spinner – or, if they pick one, whether Monty Panesar might receive the nod ahead of Graeme Swann.

“The conditions in Perth will be very different,” Flower said. “Graeme Swann has been outstanding for us but we’ll assess those conditions and see who will be best able to help us take 20 wickets.”

Blame game
Despite the problems encountered by Swann and to a lesser extent Jimmy Anderson, Flower laid the blame for the defeats squarely at the feet of the batsmen. “We have batted poorly,” he said. “Our first three innings have been poor. We have made obvious mistakes. We have succumbed to normal cricketing tactics, if you like, and we’ve succumbed in the face of some aggressive fast bowling.”

There is no prospect of making further change to the top five following the loss of Jonathan Trott, with Flower backing Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell to make a more significant impact. “These guys are very fine players,” he said.

England may have lost several pawns to Australia’s blitzkrieg opening but Flower is not yet ready to concede.
Guardian Service