Dubai: Andy Flower is arguably the best batsman to come out of Zimbabwe. True, there were players like Duncan Fletcher, Dave Houghton and Andy’s brother, Grant, but Andy Flower was the best of them all. He had such good technique that he was able to score on all types of pitches and conditions.
Flower scored 4,794 runs with 12 centuries in a Test career spanning ten years. He was Zimbabwe’s first captain when the country made their Test debut against India in 1992. Over the years, the Zimbabwean accumulated a wealth of cricketing knowledge that came in handy as a coach. He was associated with the England and Wales Cricket Board for over 12 years in various coaching capacities.
After that, Flower has been traversing the T20 circuit around the world, coaching several teams. He is the coach of Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League and the St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League. He was a consultant to Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Now, Flower brings all that experience to the UAE as coach of the Delhi Bulls in the Abu Dhabi T10 League that starts on November 20. Gulf News caught up with the former Zimbabwe captain during the jersey launch of the Delhi Bulls in Dubai.
So how different is the T10 strategy? With only ten overs for each side, there is no time for comebacks; how do teams cope? “The basics are essentially the same for all formats,” Flower said, adding that the speed at which events happen is much faster. “That makes the captain’s role more critical, and players too will have to think on their feet. Lots of tweaking of strategies are also done in the dugout,” he said.
Looking back at his career, Flower ranked the win over India at the top. “That was very special,” he said. Another highlight was the record partnership of 269 with his brother Grant against Pakistan, which helped Zimbabwe win the Test. “We were 42-3, then I scored a century , and my brother scored a double,” Flower said. “Also the World Cup in 2007, we enjoyed it very much. Zimbabwe didn’t win, but we had a good time in the West Indies.”
With Flower as head coach, England won the Ashes three times and the T20 World Cup. They also went on to become the number one Test nation. “The three Ashes wins are certainly among the best moments,” he said.
After the generation comprised of the Flower brothers, Alastair, Heath Streak Eddo Brandes, Paul Strang and others, Zimbabwe have not produced cricketers of such quality. Why is that? “Zimbabwe are right there, but there has been a steady drain of players from the country. Another problem is that the right conditions are not there. There’s no proper cricket structure for cricketers to develop. And the blame for that should go to the cricket board,” Flower said.