Andy Flower, Gary Kirsten, Others
When rumours began to circulate that Andy flower was a target for the BCCI to replace Gary Kirsten as the coach of India following the departure of the South African after the World Cup earlier this year the ECB were forced into action and offered the Zimbabwean a three-year deal.
But it has now emerged that for Flower to ignore the overtures of India and to sign a new deal with England will come at a price.
While the ECB are determined to keep hold of Flower and not let him slip through their grasp and into the hands of their rivals, it is rumoured that for the former Essex batsman to put pen to paper, the deal would have to include a condition allowing him to reduce his schedule to stay with his young family by sitting out lengthy tours abroad.
With a trip to India pencilled in for later this year and visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in early 2012, Flower, could conceivably miss out on the tour to India after a hectic summer which sees both Pakistan and India tour England.
While sports betting never suggested Flower would leave his post, he was vocal in his disapproval of the packed international calendar which saw his side go straight from their Ashes tour in Australia over the winter to the World Cup in Asia with some players given just a few days break – covered a period stretching from October 2010 to March this year.
Now spurred on by his refusal to commit his long term future to England after the Ashes – Flower said: “Personally I don't look much further forward than a few months.” – English cricket’s governing body look set to bow to his demands in order to keep him away from the lure of doubling his salary with India.
The duration of the three year deal would take in two Ashes tours but not the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The deal would be unprecedented amongst English coaches but would follow in the footsteps of captain Andrew Strauss, who sat out the 2009/10 tour of Bangladesh, while players such as Steve Finn and Stuart Broad have also benefitted from prolonged breaks from the international circuit.
But how the England set up would work without flower present remains to be seen. Once the best batsman in the world, Flower is seen as instrumental to the success England have enjoyed of late, which includes winning the Twenty20 World Cup last year and winning the Ashes for the first time in Australia since 1986/87.
What the ECB’s managing director Hugh Morris will have to figure out is whether it is worth having Flower on a part-time basis or not at all. Morris will also be concerned that the team may suffer to motivate themselves in Flower’s absence, and finding it difficult to give it their all while their coach is at home.
Michael Vaughan expressed his fears over Flower’s future earlier this year, and believes he could suffer because of the hectic schedule.
I do fear for Andy," said Vaughan. "The last thing you'd want is to risk him passing on the reins because the job involves so much time away. It's important to keep him fresh.”
“But you look at the guys with young families and they are the ones who are going to be affected. I couldn't do the touring they do now." He added.
Meanwhile, India continue their search for a new coach, with former New Zealand batsman Stephen Fleming the new front runner according to sports bets.