Flower signs new England contract

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

Flower, a former Zimbabwe captain, was being pursued, together with India’s World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten, to take over the job of national team coach as the board seeks to remove incumbent Alan Butcher.

ZC boss Peter Chingoka said he had not been made aware of any developments regarding Butcher’s tenure and the appointment of a new coach.

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.

Flower had been India’s first choice as their new coach before they appointed another former Zimbabwe captain Duncan Fletcher last week.

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.

“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.

Despite an underwhelming campaign in the recent Cricket 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 World Twenty20 in May 2010.

During his tenure England have risen from sixth place in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings 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 captain Andrew Strauss.

Flower also won admiration 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.