Flower gives rose-tinted assessment of infighting

England assistant coach arrives in West Indies set on forgetting recent turmoil

As England flew to the Caribbean yesterday they continued their well-planned assault on the world supply of airbrushes. These might not be as useful as bats for playing cricket but they have a well-recorded role in amending history.

If the squad are not quite in denial about the sensational events of only a fortnight ago, which saw the removal in a fell swoop of both their captain and coach, they are not exactly of a mind to paint the whole picture either. Hence the airbrushing.

The latest member of the squad who was not quite telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, was the assistant coach, Andy Flower, who will in effect be head coach on the three-month tour. Flower was known to be one of the targets of Pietersen's campaign to alter England's coaching methods.

Asked whether he knew that Pietersen had wanted him sacked, Flower said: "I think that is the case. I have had a chat with Kevin. I think Kevin did want a regime change but I haven't gone into specifics with him on that front. Kevin and I have always had a good relationship. I don't know whether the southern Africa thing helps but we have always had a very good, honest relationship and I don't see that changing."

There was general dismay when it emerged that Pietersen wanted Flower, a great batsman for Zimbabwe in his day, to be sacked. It seemed to be confirmation that Pietersen wanted everything his own way. Flower said: "We all have our differences and you aren't going to always to be buddy-buddy with people, that goes for Kevin and I and a lot of other people when you're trying to prod people to improve. You don't necessarily have to get on perfectly."

England are clearly embarked on a damage limitation exercise on a grand scale and for this they can probably not be blamed. For once, it really is time to move on and the new captain, Andrew Strauss, has already put neatly in place his own building blocks. Flower, as rounded and respected a figure as any in the game, turned down the opportunity to be the acting head coach.

While there is precious little difference in the practicalities – he will be assuming the organisational and selectorial duties of his predecessor, Peter Moores – Flower was still anxious for his title not to change. Nor does he know yet whether he will apply for the job.

"I'm not sure. I will play it by ear a little, see how the next month goes," he said. "I'm not sure they're going to advertise or when they want applications in but I want to see how things go first. I had a good think about it doing this now and I decided I wanted to do this role on tour."

Flower might be in a prime position to stake a claim for the top job but, considering his first coaching role after retiring as a player was as Moores' assistant, the England and Wales Cricket Board may feel it is essential to spread its net wider. He suggested that he was taken unawares by the imbroglio between Pietersen and Moores which led to the exit of both.

"It took me by surprise, the severity and speed with which it happened. I think it was sad for everyone, the whole thing. I'm pretty sure in most situations you can avoid what we saw happen in the last couple of months. I think there were a whole lot of contributing factors to what happened and I don't think it's really my place to discuss the ins and outs of that right now."

Flower will be under the microscope in the next three months almost as much as Strauss, maybe more. Whatever their public pronouncements they know that it will not be sufficient to say that everything is hunky-dory inside the camp. They now have to prove it by deed as well as word, a process which will begin at the first net session in St Kitts today.

"I think there's always a balance as coaches between finding what a player wants and what he needs," he said. "That balance shifts a little between the more senior players and players that haven't been around and don't know their games as much as some of the older guys, so as coach you're always trying to make that judgement. Certainly, Straussy does want the coaches to play a more supportive role and I am happy to support him in that. I've enjoyed our discussions in the last week."

But something had gone wrong before, something pretty fundamental, and however England play it they can not airbrush it from history.

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape