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Andy Flower departs following disastrous Ashes tour for England

The coach is told his reign is over

Andy Flower is to leave his job as  England cricket coach following England’s disastrous tour of Australia.

Paul Downton, the incoming managing director of England cricket, took the decision following a meeting with Flower. It is understood that Flower will stay within the ECB set-up,  probably at Loughborough.

Flower wanted to stay in charge but has been denied that chance after Downton, who replaces Hugh Morris officially tomorrow, conducted a review into what had gone wrong in Australia, where England lost 5-0 in the Test series.

Ashley Giles is favourite to succeed Flower but the ECB could take the chance to look overseas. Giles is in charge of England’s limited-overs teams and helped England reach the final of the Champions Trophy. He is currently in Australia, where England lost the Twenty20 series earlier today.

Alastair Cook’s position as captain is likely to remain unchanged as the hierarchy were keen for him to stamp his authority on the side and build a team in his own image, despite the dire performances last winter. Cook had wanted Flower to remain and said so many times in public, but appears to have been overruled by Downton.

England’s next Test assignment is a home series against Sri Lanka, which starts in June. India follow later that summer for five Tests. Before those matches, there is a limited-overs series in West Indies, the World Twenty20 and a limited-overs campaign with Sri Lanka in the first part of the English summer.

Flower’s departure will cast a new light on the future of Kevin Pietersen. The coach was thought to have wanted Pietersen, England’s most experienced batsman, to be left out of the Test squad, but Giles might have a different view. The final call on the matter is likely to rest with Cook.

Despite the events of the winter, Flower’s time in charge should be viewed as a success. When he took over at the start of the 2009 series in West Indies, the side were at a particularly low ebb but by the summer of 2011, he and former captain Andrew Strauss had helped the side to the top of the world Test rankings.

England also won three of the four Ashes campaigns they tackled with Flower as coach. While limited-overs cricket has been less successful, Flower and then T20 captain Paul Collingwood led the side to World Twenty20 victory in 2010, their first ICC global title.