Calm down, Flower tells England

 

There is no pleasing some people. As most observers of his team began to assess yesterday where exactly England might occupy in the pantheon, Andy Flower, the coach, rained on the parade before it left home.

With the No 1 place in the ICC world rankings now within touching distance, Flower said it was not occupying the team's thoughts. He said with a measured rebuttal of those who would seek to heap praise: "It's not, and it's important for the side that it's not at the forefront of our minds. At the forefront of our minds right now should be resting and recuperating after the back-to-back Tests and then getting our minds and bodies ready for the next challenge at Edgbaston.

"It's actually not only pointless looking further ahead than that, it's dangerous. So I would like to emphasise right now – and we've done the same in our dressing-room – that we're ahead in the series but we're only halfway through. So there is no point in triumphalism, we don't even know if we're going to win the series yet."

Flower's tenure as England coach since 2009 has been marked by a staunch realism and a willingness never to jump the gun. He has given compliments where they are due but, as he did throughout the Ashes last winter, he is keeping a cool and clear eye on the goal ahead.

"It's very important our players and management understand that, and keep feet firmly on the ground," he said. "We can gain great confidence from the way we've handled ourselves under pressure but next Wednesday is the start of another great test. And I don't mean Test match – I mean test of the players. They have to front up again."

Flower is well aware how wonderfully England have played in this series, in both matches applying an unrelenting purpose that ultimately would not be denied. At Trent Bridge, where they took a 2-0 lead on Monday, there were long periods when they were losing the game but it seemed never to occur to them that this would be the final outcome.

Before the third Test, which begins in Birmingham next Wednesday, England may have two selection puzzles to answer – not something the selectors have been accustomed to lately. The most difficult will be the composition of the bowling attack. Tim Bresnan came into the side as a replacement for the injured Chris Tremlett in Nottingham and took seven wickets, including 5 for 48 in the second innings and scored 101 runs, including an innings of 90.

On the other hand, Tremlett took four wickets at Lord's and regularly discomfited India's batsmen with his accuracy and steep bounce. Bresnan is now the man in occupation but he is a practical Yorkshireman who knows that nothing is certain. "That is pretty much all I can do now," he said. "It is up to the selectors, the captain or whoever is going to make the decision to pick the side for the next game. It is going to be a tough decision, someone is going to have to miss out and someone is going to be very disappointed, and I hope it is not me.

"It is a good position for English cricket really, I've said this all along. If you've got a stable of bowlers to choose from then it is going to give the selectors a headache, and that is not my problem."

Bresnan was elated at his performance, though it came out of an apprehensive start. His response was typical of his character. "It will give me so much confidence going forward, and truth be told I was a little nervous bowling first up in the game," he said. "The three overs I bowled on the first evening did not feel right at all. I had a fitful night's sleep, but then when I got to the ground on day two I just thought, 'sod it, let's have some fun and just get on with it'. I told myself to imagine I was playing in front of a packed house at Headingley and not Trent Bridge."

He is the only England player ever to have appeared on the winning side in his first eight Test matches. "Played eight, won eight," said Flower, "a stat he is not afraid to mention to me."

The other decision for the selectors may involve a replacement for Jonathan Trott if his injured shoulder, sustained in the field at Nottingham, does not recover. An MRI scan showed there was no bone damage but Flower said he was still far from 100 per cent fit. James Taylor's 76 for England Lions against Sri Lanka A yesterday, following his identical score in May when the Lions played the Sri Lankan tourists, should count if Lions games mean anything.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash