Flower’s future as team director has been under intense focus as England’s series has gone from bad to worse to hellish. And while there is no doubt that England were beaten by a superb Australian side, that so many of England’s players were allowed to slide out of form at the same time, that selection seemed so confused and that England seemed to lack leadership and direction, all are problems that can be laid at the feet of Flower.
Thus it has been surprising to see both Clarke and Collier publicly state such strong support for the continuation of Flower in his role as team director. And indeed, it is widely thought Downton is similarly enthusiastic that Flower’s position is maintained.
While there are certainly merits to Flower continuing in his role, it seems unfair that he has already been assured of his job, despite the fact that the “review” Collier spoke of is yet to occur.
Flower has expressed his desire to continue, the ECB have backed their man, and Flower leaving would now be a PR disaster. But if the review is held, and somewhere, somehow the conclusion is reached that Flower is not the right man for the job and it is decided that someone else would be preferable, then the ECB and/or Flower should swallow pride and do what is necessary.
The future of not only Graham Gooch and David Saker, but every individual in the back room staff, should also be assessed. This tour has been a disaster, and although Australia have been good, the reasons for England’s failure to cope need to be isolated.
If such causes cannot be traced back to the management, then so be it, but it is the management who must first receive the attention of the ECB. Then, and only then, can focus turn to strategy and personnel changes to reinvigorate the England team.