A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: It was only a matter of time before I cut down my coaching duties, admits Andy Flower

Flower admitted his family life had been damaged due to his England commitments

England head coach Andy Flower has admitted that he is pleased to no longer be in control of the country’s Test, ODI and Twenty20 squads since it left him almost no time whatsoever to spend with his wife and three children.

Flower stated that over the past couple of years, he had spent almost 60 per cent of his time on tour with England and added that he was glad a veteran and experienced player like Ashley Giles had been brought in to take over everything concerning the limited overs teams.

However, Flower, who became England’s head coach in early 2008, will still remain directly involved with the Test squad.

In January, ESPNcricinfo revealed that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were looking to ease Flower’s workload by hiring a new coach to take over the limited overs aspect of things.

“We are all aware over the last five-and-a-half years since Andy’s been involved that we’ve enjoyed some fantastic successes,” ECB managing director Hugh Morris said. “Over that period Andy has missed a handful of days. We all know how busy the schedule is. Andy is 44 and has three young kids and spends a hell of a lot of time away from home.

“We also know over the next eight-year period we will have a similar volume of cricket. We need a step change in order to protect our greatest assets which are our players and our team director and senior management. We aim to retain our talent over a long period of time.

“We have played as much as India, ahead of Australia and pretty much all the other full member nations. Andy has had the busiest workload, including 15 overseas tours. Sixty per cent of his life has been in a hotel room. It is not sustainable for one person to be looking after all aspects of the game.”

Flower admitted that the constant demands of the England cricket team had damaged his family life and added coaching roles may be more suited for single men or those with families that have already grown up.

“With young families it is very hard to get that work-life balance right,” Flower said. “If you were single or had a grown up family then I think it would be more possible to do all three forms of the game.

“We have talked about what the most effective coaching structure for our national side is and we’re still not sure. But we believe that this might be a more efficient use of our resources. With unlimited resources and unlimited high-quality coaching staff, you might even have two separate coaching teams.

“There is a bit of unfinished business. But I hope to see Ashley Giles and Alastair Cook hoisting a trophy above their heads at some stage. I will be watching but not there on a day to day level. It is a little sad to be stepping away to be honest. But I will certainly gain in other areas of my life. I don’t believe this decision will bring an erosion of my authority or influence.”

However, there has been growing speculation that the ECB have been looking into hiring a second senior coach, but Morris was quick to quell all the rumours, stating that the board had full faith in Giles and added that he was the perfect man for the job.

“I don’t see it as an erosion of Andy’s power,” Morris said. “Ultimately he is accountable for playing strategy of all three formats of the game. He remains a selector and also has responsibility for the day to day planning. He will also see some young players he wouldn’t have seen before in the county scene.

“We know Ashley Giles as a person and we know him as a coach. He has been through our coaching programme over the last four years and he has done a terrific job with Warwickshire.”

Flower’s need of rest has been compared to England batsman Kevin Pietersen, whose request for a rest was denied by the ECB.

But, Flower noted that his situation was different to that of Pietersen’s since the South African-born batsman had asked to be released from playing ODIs and concentrate on just play Twenty20 Internationals and Test matches.

“He wanted to retire from 50 overs cricket and play T20 cricket,” Flower said. “That is not in line with ECB policy. So the situations are not directly comparable.”

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