Andy Flower: Why I had to rest my prize horse

England coach comes out fighting and defends exclusion of Anderson for tomorrow's third Test

Andy Flower yesterday delivered a spirited explanation of England's selection policy which brooked no contradiction. Aware of the less than universal approbation that greeted the decision to omit fast bowler Jimmy Anderson – not least from the player himself – the team's coach recognised it was time someone put the selectors' case.

"When I was thinking of a few comparisons to make I thought: 'Would you enter your prize horse in every race through the year'?" asked Flower. "You wouldn't, you would target the races you want to win. We've won this race already.

"Would you play your most valuable pitcher in every single game in a baseball season? No you wouldn't. In fact, you don't even see them play full games. You pull them out of games because physically it makes sense to do so. Eventually their shoulder or their elbow would go.

"Does Wayne Rooney play every game for Manchester United? No, he doesn't because he would break down if he tried to do so. Brian O'Driscoll does not play every game for Leinster. There is a good reason."

With England 2-0 ahead, Anderson has been rested for the third Test against West Indies which begins at Edgbaston tomorrow as part of a rotation policy designed to prolong careers. But it deprives Anderson of possible Test wickets, something he was not happy about, and the possibility that his replacement could do so well as to preclude a return, something he was still less happy about.

While appreciating Anderson's chagrin, Flower's conviction that it was the correct decision and the right policy was unshakeable. And he conceded that it was still possible that England might also omit Stuart Broad, who was at least included in the 12-man squad for the match, from the XI.

"These types of decisions are made for the good of the team but also they will extend the careers of bowlers like Anderson," said Flower. "I understand the reasons why he is disappointed but it is beneficial to him in the long run.

"Firstly we came into this series with one goal and that was to win the series. We've achieved that goal so obviously our priorities do shift. If it had been 1-1 going into this third Test Jimmy would have played so he is not badly injured and he could play this Test match if we wanted him to. That's not the case. The second point is that the days of us playing our players until they either wear down significantly or snap physically or mentally are over."

Flower's case made perfect sense, though there was a feeling that it could, perhaps should, have been put by National Selector Geoff Miller, who presumably shapes policy, when the squad was announced on Sunday. That might have headed critics off at the pass.

Nor was Flower finished yet. Declining to answer questions on Kevin Pietersen's withdrawal from limited-overs cricket and his part in it, Flower was warming to the rotation theme.

"My third point is we have to try to grow the pool of fast bowlers available to the England side. You would have seen through the Ashes in Australia that it wasn't the same attack that was used throughout that series.

"Over the next couple of years the schedule is incredibly heavy and so it is not only going to be Anderson, Broad and Bresnan who are going to be our bowlers who will be used. My fourth point is the possible replacement or replacements we use in this Test match are fine bowlers in their own right who have already performed very successfully in Test matches in England. I don't see it as devaluing this Test match."

While Flower kept his counsel for now on Pietersen, Jonathan Trott said the players understood the retirement. "Everyone makes decisions in life, you've got to accept it. As a team we've all accepted it and fully support him."

West Indies, meanwhile, have yet to confirm whether mystery off-break bowler Sunil Narine will make his Test debut tomorrow.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital