Flower signs new deal and sets lofty goals

ENGLAND coach Andy Flower insists he can take the team to new heights after resisting overtures from India to extend his contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Flower has worked wonders in his two years as team director, winning two Ashes series and the Twenty20 World Cup and hoisting England from sixth to third in the world Test rankings.

That improvement did not go unnoticed in India, who were keen to poach Flower before settling for one of his predecessors as England coach, Duncan Fletcher, instead last month.

But South Africa-born former Zimbabwe captain Flower shunned interest from the subcontinent in favour of reaffirming his commitment to the ECB, and believes his current team can overhaul India as the world’s No1 side.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to build on the considerable progress we have made to date as a squad and remain fully committed to developing the side and ensuring we are in a position to realise our objective of becoming the No1 side in the world.

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

Flower took over, initially as stand-in, with England in disarray following the departures of warring coach Peter Moores and captain Kevin Pietersen. Months later he helped recover the Ashes and retained them last winter during a hugely successful trip to Australia.

“Regaining the Ashes in 2009 and retaining them last winter and the 2010 World Twenty20 title are obvious highlights, but there is still plenty more we want to achieve in the longer term,” Flower added.

The ECB’s Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket, said Flower had made “a huge impact”, adding: “I have no doubt that under Andy’s direction we will continue to see England improve.”