Steve Harmison has backed his former England team-mate Ashley Giles as the best candidate to lead the side following Andy Flower's resignation as team director.

Harmison, a veteran of 63 Tests and 58 one-day internationals, won the Ashes alongside Giles in 2005 and believes he has the credentials to reinvigorate England following their dismal winter in Australia.

As current limited-overs coach - a post created when Flower decided to ease his workload at the end of 2012 - Giles is favourite to inherit the top job, but a desire to unify the coaching role once again means if he is unsuccessful he would be out of a job completely.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's new managing director Paul Downton is unlikely to treat Giles' succession as a fait accompli, and is expected to cast a wide net as he plots the first key appointment of his short tenure.

Gary Kirsten, who took South Africa and India to number one in the Test rankings, is much admired around the world, Australian Tom Moody has indicated he would be open to an ECB offer and Mickey Arthur - sacked last summer as Australia coach - would relish a return to the big stage.

Top domestic talent such as Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell and Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon could also be considered, but Harmison believes Downton need look no further than his current employee.

"I'd like to see them give it to Ashley, he deserves his chance out of the candidates out there," Harmison told Sky Sports News.

"Ashley deserves the chance to put his stamp on the side.

"They will explore all avenues, but I would like to see it go to an Englishman for the national team. I don't think there are too many candidates who raise their hand and say 'I deserve to be England coach'.

"But Ashley has got all the traits, he worked hard as a cricketer and as a coach he went and did all the hard work at Warwickshire. He won the County Championship with them and he has earned the chance.

"I don't see a better candidate than him."

Kirsten's kudos would be difficult to match should he throw his name into the ring, but having left the dream job of coaching his native South Africa due to excessive travel and demands on his time, a return in English colours appears a stretch.

Harmison said: "There's a lot of talk about Gary Kirsten but I don't think he will want the job because of why he left India and South Africa - to spend more time with the family. He's not going to get that with England."

The 46-year-old currently acts as head coach of the Delhi Daredevils - an annual commitment of less than three months - and, quoted ahead of the Indian Premier League auction, said: "I suppose it is flattering that people are thinking about me. As far as I am concerned, my sentiments have not changed."

If Giles is overlooked - which could happen if England's results in the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh disappoint - Harmison would like to see Flower's predecessor Peter Moores considered.

Although he has rebuilt his reputation at Lancashire since being axed in 2009, the ECB would be highly unlikely to go back.

Nevertheless, Harmison suggested: "It was unfortunate how his tenure ended first time. There were good things in place when Peter left. (He would be) another candidate for me."

Moores' nemesis, Kevin Pietersen, continues to dominate discussions of the way forward for England on the field.

Flower was reportedly unwilling to continue working with the controversial batsman, but others must now decide his fate.

Downton and Giles are expected to meet Test and one-day captain Alastair Cook on Tuesday to determine his long-term future, with the West Indies squad due to be named on Thursday.

That will also double as the spine of the World T20 group and Giles may wish to burnish his own credentials by keeping arguably his best batsman on side.

His presence, or absence, in these lists will give a big hint about his part in England's rebuilding process.