Flower calls for balance and perspective

England

England head coach Andy Flower has called on the Ashes captains and senior players to set a good example on and off the field, and find a balance between competitive banter and outright verbal abuse.

England head coach Andy Flower has called on the Ashes captains and senior players to set a good example on and off the field, and find a balance between competitive banter and outright verbal abuse.

The issue of sledging became prominent during the first Test in Brisbane, which Australia won, when Aussie skipper Michael Clarke and England tail-ender James Anderson got into it on the field, and the comments were picked up by the stump mics.

Added to this, Oz batsman David Warner's comments to the media about Jonathan Trott's batting, calling it 'poor and weak', did not go down well, especially as Trott left the tour soon afterwards due to a stress-related illness.

While not blaming the Aussies for Trott's situation at all, the coach said of the sledging and aggression: "I think there are standards of behaviour that individuals and teams must set themselves.

"The competition should be intense. It's played between two proud cricketing nations. But I think we need good leaders, who know where to draw the line, and they need to be good role models."

The Zimbabwean wasn't advocating a loss of intensity though, saying the series was still an exciting one and deserved to be played in the proper spirit of competition, but just called for some balance and a view of the bigger picture.

Flower added: "This type of situation does put it into perspective. I believe that the series can still be played in a good spirit, and let the best team win it.

"I believe it should be a very exciting series. But I agree there's a balance to be had, and we all have a responsibility to find that balance."

The coach was then asked about the recovery from the first Test defeat, and said the players were disappointed with their poor performance, but weren't down-hearted and were looking forward to avenging the defeat when play moves to Adelaide.

He continued: "Look, this was a bad loss for us. But we have a history of adapting quickly and recovering from losses such as this. Luckily, they don't occur that often.

"I think the break in Alice Springs… comes at a good time. It gives us a little chance to have a think about what happened at Brisbane and how to come back stronger and better in Adelaide.

"I'm personally looking forward to the challenge and I think the team will do likewise."

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