The most important second in his life in all probability got here in the course of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa when Flower, alongside along with his team-mate Henry Olonga, determined to protest in opposition to what they known as “dying of democracy” in Zimbabwe. He by no means returned to Zimbabwe and shifted his base to England, the place he performed for Essex until 2006. Flower retired from cricket in 2007 and was appointed assistant to England coach Peter Moores. After Moores exit in 2009, Flower was put in command of the England staff. Inside two years, he helped England obtain unprecedented success in worldwide cricket — two back-to-back Ashes wins (house and away), never-seen-before consistency in 50-overs cricket and their first international ICC trophy on the 2010 World T20 within the West Indies. Additionally, England humbled in India 4-Zero to turn out to be No. 1 within the Take a look at rankings.
With such a stellar file, each as a participant and a coach, Flower has entered the world of franchise cricket. Having already labored within the Pakistan Tremendous League (PSL) and T10 League in Abu Dhabi, the 52-year-old is at the moment on the helm of St. Lucia Zouks within the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). After the CPL, the place his staff has already certified for the Playoffs, he’ll be part of Kings XI Punjab’s head coach Anil Kumble as his assistant within the UAE and plot their success within the IPL.
On this e mail interview, Flower talks about his maiden CPL expertise, significance of nervousness, his upcoming IPL stint, challenges of teaching in instances of Covid-19, distinction between teaching a world staff and a franchise, and extra. Excerpts:
That is your first season within the Caribbean Premier League. How has been your expertise to this point?
It has been a extremely nice expertise to this point. Aside from the primary week of quarantine (laughs), after we had been caught in our rooms for an entire week. I would not describe that as enjoyable, though it was an excellent alternative to take a while out. However the league itself has been glorious. Even with out the crowds, the competitiveness, the usual of cricket, the blending of the gamers in our personal staff, but additionally from all of the groups, the blending of the coaches within the resort, it is a actually nice coming collectively of fine cricketers in a aggressive environment. Clearly, we’d have completely cherished the colourful West Indian crowds. We miss that a part of taking part in top of the range sport. However I need to say as quickly as these gamers get on the market competing with one another, ideas of an empty stadium quickly dissipate. And gamers are simply as aggressive as they’d be if that stadium was full.
Was there nervousness or strain?
It’s a skilled sport and we’re employed to carry out. So, there’s the duty of doing an amazing job for the folks which might be using you. Frankly, I do not view that as an enormous strain. If I used to be being paid $5 or $500,000, I’ll do pretty much as good a job as I can do. I believe it is the identical in the event you get on a tennis courtroom and also you’re taking part in in opposition to a few your mates, you are going to try to win that sport. And so so far as strain goes, that’s my view of it.
Was there nervousness? Sure, a little bit. I like that feeling of a little bit little bit of nerves the day earlier than a sport or on the morning of a sport. And I believe these are wholesome emotions as a result of it feels as in the event you care. And, I do care. Due to this fact, sure, I used to be a little bit nervous about how our staff would do. I wished them to do properly, I wished them to individually fulfil their desires and I wished us as a staff to gel collectively and play some nice cricket. So, a little bit little bit of nervousness is an effective factor.
You have to be pleased with St. Lucia Zouks’ success this season?
We’re one of many smaller franchises. Clearly, (St. Lucia is) not an enormous cricketing island with historical past of nice success. Actually, Barbados has had up to now. However Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica, they’ve all had success within the CPL. We’re acknowledged as a smaller franchise and we have not had a lot success up to now. So, that is our alternative to show that file round or actually to begin turning that file round. Our job is to get as a lot out of our squad as potential. And to this point, we have been going fairly properly. We’re nearing the tip of the league stage — having performed seven video games, we have gained 5 of them, and misplaced two. So we’re properly positioned to qualify, however we have got to have a robust end. And we’re wanting ahead to that problem and that’ll get us by to the playoffs. That is the primary purpose, get into the playoffs and take it from there.
We have been very well led by Darren Sammy. Clearly, he is a participant that is kind of inching in the direction of the tip of his taking part in profession. He’s 37 now. However he is an excellent chief, and he is completed an amazing job with our guys. The standout gamers (for us) have been Roston Chase, who wasn’t initially chosen within the CPL in any respect and got here in late as a alternative for an abroad participant. He has been strong as a rock with each bat and ball. And the opposite standout for us has been Mohammed Nabi. Once more, a barely older participant, 30 years previous I believe he’s (Nabi is 35) and he is in prime type in the meanwhile. As an off-spinning all-rounder, he is taken wickets up entrance, he hasn’t gone for a lot of with the ball, and he is aware of his sport so properly in that center order. He’s justifying his billing as one of many high worldwide T20 gamers.
Are you enthusiastic about your first IPL stint?
Completely. I am actually wanting ahead to experiencing the IPL. I am wanting ahead to assembly up with Anil (Kumble, KXIP head coach). I’m wanting ahead to assembly up with KL (Rahul, KXIP captain) and the remainder of the gamers and attending to know them and their video games. It is a massively thrilling franchise. I am actually wanting ahead to my first stint.
It is a pity that it is not going to be in India. I used to like taking part in in India. I cherished touring India. I’ve at all times discovered it an interesting place culturally with the variability, scope and measurement of the place and the inhabitants. I’ve at all times discovered it fascinating being concerned in a cricket tour or sequence there. So, it is a pity that it is not being held there. It is a pity that we aren’t going to have these good crowds that love the sport a lot. However it’s nonetheless the IPL; it is nonetheless nice high quality groups coming collectively and sparring. So sure, I am very a lot wanting ahead to it.
What’s your tackle the rising variety of franchise leagues? How would this have an effect on worldwide cricket?
I can see why they’re sprouting up all around the world. They’re very profitable, T20 cricket is a really thrilling product, it’s extremely sellable, and clearly it is a good enterprise mannequin, in any other case these leagues would not be popping up.
I additionally assume that T10 goes to be very profitable. I used to be concerned within the T10 league in Abu Dhabi late final 12 months, and I believed that product was additionally glorious. Shorter video games, the time frame is extra like a soccer match or a rugby or hockey match which the spectators are used to. And I believe these burgeoning franchises are going to carry their reputation for a while to return.
How the ICC balances this mushrooming of the personal leagues goes to be attention-grabbing to look at. I do not know if they’re simply going to let a free market decide the evolution of this international sport, or if they’ll try to management and information this stability between worldwide cricket and franchise cricket. I personally assume a agency, mild, honest and clever guiding hand by the ICC can be probably the most wise choice at current.
You had a profitable stint as a coach with a world staff (England) and now you might be into franchise cricket. What are the similarities and variations between the 2?
It’s fairly a unique manner of teaching. On the worldwide scene, you’ve your squads of gamers just about all 12 months, and subsequently, (you) have an excellent entry to them and the chance to regulate your coaching environments and schedules to a big extent. Due to this fact, the chance to work with and develop, and assist develop, the potential in gamers is larger than the chance you’ve in these franchise leagues.
These franchise leagues are normally of a shortest period, throughout which period the gamers competing in matches loads of the time. And coaching, subsequently, is usually dedicated to getting the participant able to play, able to compete. Generally which may imply a tough coaching session, typically it’d imply simply placing your ft up and resting. As a result of you’ve that quick time frame collectively and possibly do not see them once more for a 12 months, the chance to assist them develop is curtailed. That does not imply that improvement would not occur.
So, if you’re teaching you have to be consistently conscious of your impact on the folks round you. Often, the pinnacle coach has fairly a big affect on the surroundings and other people, and that is fairly a duty to hold as a pacesetter.
So there are alternatives to assist folks develop and all of the coaches must be taking these obligations on board. And there are additionally nice alternatives for gamers to be taught from one another. So, facilitating conversations and studying experiences within the franchise system may be very a lot part of our job.
However primarily, as a pacesetter and a coach, we’re making an attempt to organise the group in order that they’ve a unity of goal and that they really feel assured and free to specific themselves as gamers on the market within the center once they’re below strain to succeed.
What are the challenges for the coaches in these Covid instances?
There are stricter protocols round coaching and taking part in (these days due to the pandemic). So you are not as in command of the schedules as you might be in regular instances. For example, though we had been right here for over two weeks in preparation for the CPL, the primary of these weeks was a strict in-room quarantine. The second of these weeks, we solely acquired in two observe periods. So, the problem for me as a coach and selector was to try to get to know our gamers over two observe periods, and clearly by communication again at base. In order that is a bit more difficult below these kind of protocols.
That is the primary T20 League within the post-COVID world. The gamers have to be rusty after spending months away from cricket. How did you make sure that gamers had been prepared for the CPL problem?
Sure, undoubtedly. Indubitably we noticed rustiness. I believe the obvious instance can be within the quick bowlers. They had been very rusty to begin however I noticed the quick bowlers from quite a few the perimeters, together with ours, enhance as they performed every sport. (Additionally) we had been fairly involved about health, particularly for the quick bowlers with again to again video games in very excessive warmth and humidity right here in Trinidad. Fortunately, there have not been as many accidents as I believed there may be throughout the six groups. In order that’s been an excellent factor. However sure, some common rustiness (was there), however gamers kind of dusted that off pretty rapidly. They began to hit their straps a little bit because the match reached the half manner.
Taking care of the gamers throughout quarantine may be very a lot part of our duty as leaders. Some gamers deal with isolation higher than others. Making certain that gamers have an outlet for communication in the event that they want it, is essential. So the entire administration staff was conscious of that necessity and made positive that we maximised communication with out swamping the gamers with it. And I believe in the long run, it is labored fairly properly. I believe the gamers have dealt with the isolation higher than what some may need anticipated.