Andy Flower signs new England contract

Andy Flower
Flower joined the England set-up as assistant coach in 2007

Andy Flower has signed a new contract to remain as England team director.

The former Zimbabwe captain, 43, took over from Peter Moores in January 2009 and has since overseen successive Ashes series victories over Australia.

"I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to build on the considerable progress we have made to date as a squad," he said.

He has accepted a fresh staff contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board, rather than a fixed-term deal.

Flower had been India's first choice as their new coach before they appointed Duncan Fletcher in April.

However, the approach soon faltered as the former Essex batsman was unwilling to consider uprooting his family.

England begin a four-Test series against India in July, after Sri Lanka arrive in mid-May to play three Tests.

"We have made no secret of our determination to become the number one side in the world and challenge for global titles and I feel we have been making steady progress," added Flower.

"I firmly believe we have the talent amongst the playing squad and management team to help us realise our ambitions."

Despite an underwhelming campaign in the recent World Cup, Flower has built a formidable reputation during his spell with England.

In addition to Test series victories over Australia, he guided England to their first major tournament win at the ICC World Twenty20 in May 2010.

During his tenure England have risen from sixth place in the International Cricket Council's Test rankingsexternal-link to third behind India and South Africa.

In contrast to the fractious relationship between then-captain Kevin Pietersen and his predecessor Moores, Flower has led a united dressing room.

Since taking the job on a permanent basis in April 2009, after an initial period as interim coach, he has forged a close and successful partnership with Test and one-day international captain Andrew Strauss.

Flower also won admirationexternal-link for the manner in which he managed skin cancer - having a melanoma removed from his right cheek during the during the second day of the opening Ashes Test in November.

"Andy's outstanding leadership, commitment, and his open and honest approach have been key factors in the success the England squad has enjoyed over the last two years," said England Cricket managing director Hugh Morris.

Although there is no specific clause in Flower's new contract giving him more control over the team's future schedule, he will meet Morris and his support staff in the next few weeks to discuss players' workloads.

Flower blamed injuries in the run-up to the recent World Cup on the length of the Ashes tour that preceded it, prompting fears he could walk away from his post.

England played their first tour match against Western Australia on 5 November and completed the trip with their seventh one-day international on 6 February.

Flower is keen to ensure England do not endure a similarly congested fixture schedule again, ensuring he has sufficient recovery time from intensive Test, one-day and Twenty20 series.

"The volume of cricket played is tough for anybody," former England fast bowler Angus Fraser told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Andrew Strauss has a huge workload, players are rested so why shouldn't coaches?

"It is difficult for coaches to be fresh to maintain their enthusiasm over a period of time."