FLOWER TIPS FLOPS TO BAT AWAY CRIT­ICS

CRICKET

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

ANDY FLOWER is con­fi­dent the bats­men who took Eng­land to the top of world cricket are still the ones most likely to keep them there.

The Eng­land coach has lit­tle time to help his team re­gain con­fi­dence in the wake of their 3-0 Test se­ries drub­bing by Pak­istan be­fore they tackle four one-day in­ter­na­tion­als and three Twen­ty20s against the same op­po­nents.

Mis­er­able

His new chief al­lies will be limited overs cap­tains Alas­tair Cook and Stu­art Broad, rather than Test leader An­drew Strauss, and other changes in per­son­nel in­clude a sab­bat­i­cal for the out-of-form Ian Bell.

Kevin Pi­etersen – who like Bell en­dured a mis­er­able run of scores against Pak­istan’s spin­ners – will open the bat­ting.

Flower must

raise

spir­its and im­prove tech­nique, while be­ing sure in his mind whether there is any need to bow to the clam­our to bring new bats­men into the Test arena.

But a sud­den raft of changes ap­pears un­likely.

“You don’t al­ways suc­ceed, and when that is the case it can cre­ate some doubts,” said Flower.

“But the best play­ers come through those mo­ments of doubt and come out with a stronger pack­age.

“Of course, there is a cut-off line where it would be stupid to con­tinue along the same path if it’s not be­ing suc­cess­ful.

“In the main, I don’t think we’re there with this group of play­ers.

“This is not a closed shop – and ev­ery­one’s aware of that – but this group of bats­men have done an out­stand­ing job for Eng­land and have very good in­ter­na­tional records over the past few years.”

SMALL CHANGE: Bell’s

a goner but Flower (above) still has faith

in KP (top left)

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