ICC faces serious challenge in finding balance between T20 leagues and international cricket: Flower

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DUBAI (Web Desk) – The ICC faces a serious challenge in striking a financially viable balance between the thriving T20 leagues and international cricket over the next decade, says renowned coach Andy Flower. Led by the BCCI-Most ICC full members have their own T20 product and the rapid growth of franchise-based cricket has put more stress on the international cricket calendar and its viability, leaving the big three — India, Australia and England — aside. Speaking from Dubai, Flower said the recent series in England showed interest in Test cricket remains but the format needs to be managed wisely alongside the T20 boom. “It is a serious challenge for the ICC to make a fine balance between viable international cricket and the burgeoning franchise world. That is going to be interesting to watch over the coming decade. Flower, who is now exploring the world of T20 leagues after 12 years in England cricket set-up, believes leading players have a role to play in lifting the profile of the five-day game. “My personal opinion is that there is space and time and interest in all three formats to make them viable and successful. “I am sure he said that from a genuine perspective and realisation that it is the most difficult challenge for a professional cricketer. That recognition is nice to hear,” said the coach who guided England to rare Test series wins in Australia (2010-11 Ashes) and India (2012-13). He was also in charge when England won their maiden ICC trophy — the World T20 — in 2010. While the mushrooming T20 leagues have provided players and coaches an opportunity to earn a decent living, Flower feels it has also enhanced their knowledge about the game. “Coaching is a fairly new profession in cricket. There might have been the odd coach, who were called the managers back in the 80s. “Then, in the 90s, coaching started developing into something more serious, and now with the expansion of franchise based tournaments around the world, it has given broader scope of opportunities for coaches to earn a living and broaden their experiences.” On his evolution as a coach, he said: “I started coaching when I was in my early 20s and even when I was playing for Zimbabwe, initially we weren’t paid as players, we (including Grand Flower, Alistair Campbell and David Houghton) were paid as coaches. “What I have learnt as a coach is to put the person first, ahead of the player, ahead of the competitor and work with that person. I have learnt that through making mistakes along the way. “The most important thing is dealing with the person but data has also become a prominent part of evaluating the game,” said Flower, backing the use of data to bust “some of the myths” of the game.

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