We clearly weren't good enough, admits Flower

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The Independent Online

There was no attempt to hide by Andy Flower yesterday, no skirting of the issue, no clumsy excuses. So little deviation, repetition or hesitation was there, and not a bit of obfuscation, that he might have been collecting laughs on Just A Minute instead of reflecting painfully on England's embarrassing and often ill-tempered 5-0 hammering in a one-day series by India.

"In looking for reasons for a defeat such as this, my own personal philosophy is that you've got to look at yourself first," he said. "I am the head coach so, of course, I have to look at the way I have prepared the players for this series. It obviously hasn't been successful so I do have to look at the decisions I have made.

"I think we've got to look back at our selection, some of our training methods, and then take the lessons from that. We haven't had a chance to do that yet. But very obviously we all weren't good enough."

Flower's mea culpa was agonisingly sincere, though he can never have expected to be issuing it. Few managers or coaches in other sports can quite manage to concede the extent of their shortcomings. England came here expecting to win after a successful home summer and more than two years in which they have become a palpably superior side. If nothing else, they would certainly not lose 5-0 as they had three years ago. Yes, they would.

England have now won only one of their last 18 one-day matches in India. Their old failings against spin and their rudimentary insistence on playing it from the crease, manifested themselves grotesquely. But they were also frequently poor between the wickets and outfielded by keener opponents.

"Playing spin here is more difficult, I personally don't think it's that much more difficult," said Flower. "I think in the combination of delivering a slightly different skill of placing spin out here and knowing how to attack it, but then also delivering those skills under pressure, we have come up way short. Everyone has to take personal responsibility.

"We ask the players to do that and we have to do the same. One of the players' jobs is to learn as quickly as possible and certainly our job is to facilitate that. That is where I question myself."