Flower takes blame for series whitewash

England coach says his decision to give players time off before Pakistan Tests led to defeat

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The Independent Online

The England coach, Andy Flower, admitted yesterday that his side were simply not ready to take on Pakistan after slumping to a 3-0 series defeat.

Pakistan sealed a 71-run win to complete a miserable tour for the No 1 Test side in the world. England's players were given time off to rest ahead of the series and Flower shouldered his share of the blame for their poor preparation. "I don't think our commitment and our hunger to win has been down," he said. "But [we spent a] couple of months out of the game and not doing a lot while Pakistan were beating Sri Lanka and working hard to beat Bangladesh and that hardened them up for this contest.

"Looking back now I don't think we were ready. I shoulder that side of the blame because it was my decision to give them that time off. We won't let that happen again.

"Certainly during that rest time our team and support staff were all being lauded and while that was happening Pakistan were working hard at their game and beating international opposition.

"Consequently one side was sharp and ready and one side wasn't and we've got to do something about that." Flower admitted he was surprised by how badly his batsmen had performed. "We do have a lot of faith in our players and that faith has been justified over a long period of time," he said.

"But we've under-performed here badly. I've been surprised by how poorly we've batted. We've had some outstanding performances from the bowlers, backed up in the field, but the very obvious area [of weakness] is playing the spin."