Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flowers offers skipper support

England coach Andy Flower has backed Andrew Strauss to continue to lead the side in the future.

Strauss has been under pressure following a 2-0 Test series defeat to South Africa that saw them concede their number one Test status.

The build-up to the game was also dogged by the Kevin Pietersen saga, with the 32-year-old eventually dropped amid accusations he sent derogatory text messages about Strauss to South African players.

Strauss admitted he would speak with Pietersen this week over the issue that threatened to split the dressing room, with a number of players’ relationships with Pietersen reportedly at breaking point.

The issue clearly affected Strauss and his preparations for the game, running his 100th Test match in the bargain.

Some have suggested he should step down in order to speed up the transition of a side containing a number of aging players, especially with back-to-back Ashes campaigns awaiting next year.

However, he has received the backing of his coach, who does not believe he should step down despite the South Africa defeat and with a tough looking series in India lying in wait.

"The last couple of weeks have been particularly draining on him," Flower told BBC Sport.

"This [Pietersen] issue has certainly not helped and it's been a very unwelcome distraction during a very high-profile and brilliant Test series.

"But he will re-energise. He can certainly take the Test team forward.

"We know he's an excellent leader and he can certainly take the Test team forward."

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