Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Ashes 2013-14: England coach Andy Flower must decide if he is still up to the job, declares Geoffrey Boycott


Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott led the chorus of condemnation after England meekly surrendered the Ashes, urging the coach, Andy Flower, to make a quick decision over his future.

Boycott has been critical of Alastair Cook's side throughout the series and said they "have cocked it up big time" having arrived Down Under as clear favourites to retain the urn. However with Flower's future as coach far from certain, he believes the ECB's new managing director, Paul Downton, and new chairman of selectors, James Whitaker, must start planning for the future immediately.

"Some of our coaching staff should have a serious look at themselves because we are on the down and Australia are on the up," said Boycott. "We should be thinking and planning for 2015. Is our coach up to it? The top people have to decide – Andy Flower, are you going to be here next year? Are you staying or going? If you've had enough, go now. We have to be up for the challenge – we have to have the balls to do something."

His thoughts were echoed by Sir Ian Botham, who singled out England's experienced batsmen for blame. "The batters need to look at themselves. I'm sure the bowlers will be reminding the batsmen, 'We did our part, boys, where were you?'" said Botham.

Meanwhile, the Twitter account of former Australian seamer Glenn McGrath's Foundation made fun of England's predicament: "We're dreaming of a whitewash Christmas, just like the ones we used to know! #theashes"