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Flower Favourite After Caribbean Success

THE feeling that Zimbabwean Andy Flower will be named as England’s new coach has grown stronger after Mickey Arthur said that he intends to remain with South Africa at least until after his contract expires ­following the 2011 World Cup.

Arthur joins a long list of coaches who have been touted for the job, but fallen by the wayside, including his fellow South Africans Graham Ford and Gary Kirsten and the Australian John ­Buchanan.

He said: “It was flattering to be considered and then ­contacted but it was made pretty clear to me that I would have to walk away from my contract with Cricket South Africa and negotiate a release, which is something I would never do.”

Arthur’s expression of interest in the role did not alter the perception that the England and Wales Cricket Board want to give the job to Flower, who impressed during his caretaker role on England’s tour of the Caribbean and built up a rapport with the new captain, Andrew Strauss. England’s 3-2 victory in the one-day series in St Lucia last Friday ended a barren winter.

An ECB spokesman said that it would not discuss who had applied for the job. Arthur told Cricket South Africa that he would refer any ECB contact to it and had expected potential contractual issues to be discussed at boardroom level before he was involved. He said that he lost interest when it became clear that he would have to negotiate his own escape clause.

“As I said right from the start, I’ve never made a secret of my ambition to coach in England one day — I had always hoped it would be with a county — but who knows what might happen in the future?
“But I remain absolutely committed to the Proteas and looking forward to all the challenges we have coming up. At least there won’t be any more speculation now.”

Flower’s promotion to the job left vacant by the sacking of his former boss Peter Moores three months ago is now regarded as such a formality that Arthur already assumed that he has got the job.

“I wish Andy Flower the very best of luck and look forward to catching up with him when we face each other in the Test series at the end of the year,” he said. “It’s going to be a heck of a start for him with the Ashes and then South Africa.” — The Guardian.

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