Flower set for talks over future

Hampshire Chronicle: Andy Flower has seen England lose all four tests so far in Australia Andy Flower has seen England lose all four tests so far in Australia

Andy Flower is anticipating a Sydney summit about his future as Test coach with new England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton.

Flower insists he remains "very motivated", despite England's ongoing miserable and unsuccessful Ashes campaign, to contribute what he can for the good of the national team.

But after England's latest embarrassment, an eight-wicket defeat in Melbourne which means they have one last chance next week to avoid a 5-0 whitewash at the SCG, Flower revealed a meeting with Downton is already in his diary.

Former England wicketkeeper Downton officially begins his role, successor to the departing Hugh Morris, this week - and it seems his first major task will be to sift through with Flower what has gone wrong Down Under over the past two months and what changes need to be made.

On the morning after England went 4-0 down, with another crushing defeat at the MCG, Flower said: "Paul Downton, the new managing director, has arrived in Australia.

"I will be meeting with him in Sydney, and we will talk about the future of the leadership of the national team - with regards the coach's position.

"But I'm very motivated to contribute to English cricket, and that's what I'm going to do.

"I think it would be absolutely right to look into the reasons why we haven't done well in this series.

"I also think it's important that (you do that) when you have a very successful series.

"So, for example after the 2010-11 series here, there was a report done on why it was successful.

"On this occasion, it hasn't been successful - and I think there should be some sort of review as to why, certainly."

Flower is adamant too that Alastair Cook, who arrived in Australia hoping for a fourth successive Ashes series victory and is still barely more than a year into his tenure as captain, is the right man to continue in his role.

"Yes, he is," he said.

"Alastair Cook has captained six Test series for England, and this is the first series loss he's had.

"He's done some outstanding things for England with the bat. But he's also done some excellent things as a leader, in the dressing room and out on the field."

Flower believes his and Cook's England can still emerge stronger for their harrowing experiences here.

"This is a very challenging time for any leader," he said. "For Alastair and me, it's certainly in that bracket.

"Out of challenging times, sometimes we can grow significantly. We'll be looking at how we do that.

"In the more immediate future is the Sydney Test match, just around the corner, and that is our real focus.

"Certainly, when I examine my role in the tour, I ask myself tough questions."

Flower declined to specify any changes of playing personnel for the final Test - but after the frustrations of Melbourne, where England established a first-innings lead only to collapse second time round, he acknowledged a likely rethink on selection for a match which starts on Friday.

"I would imagine there will be one or two changes for the Sydney Test," he said.

"It was a disappointing match, this last one in Melbourne - I suppose like the first three, of course.

"This one, though, we got into a position where we could have dominated - and we threw that position away with our second-innings batting.

"So that was probably doubly disappointing.

"Now we're faced with one chance in Sydney, to redeem ourselves to a small extent."

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