Ashes can restore cricket credibility

England coach Andy Flower believes the upcoming Ashes series can help restore some of cricket’s credibility after a scandal-tainted summer.

Allegations of corruption tarnished cricket’s image during Pakistan’s recent tour of England, with three players suspended after allegedly plotting to bowl deliberate no balls for cash. All three Pakistani players deny the allegations.

The saga, which has led to suspicions being raised about a series of other matches, has continued to cast a shadow over the sport.

Flower believes however that England and Australia can provide a showcase for cricket when the latest installment of their historic rivalry gets under way with the first Test in Brisbane on November 25.

“The second half of the summer was bad for the game, there’s no doubt about that,” Flower said.

“But I think the series that Australia have just had in India was an excellent Test series, albeit only two matches long.

“With the inevitable scrutiny on an Ashes series, it should be a great spectacle for people.

“We all have a responsibility to the game to make sure its image is strong and healthy.”

Flower meanwhile is trying to dampen down the hype surrounding the forthcoming series, where England will attempt to win the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in more than 20 years.

“It is important for our guys to keep it all in perspective,” Flower said.

“Beating the Australians, we will have to be at our best to do that.

“We’re willing to take that on and confront it fully.

“But I do ask them to keep things in perspective because I think that’s the best way to go about this job. If you don’t, you can build it up into something bigger than it is.”

Flower said he was hoping to strip away the intimidating mystique of trying to beat Australia on their home soil, instead encouraging his players to look forward to the series as a career highlight.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of in Australia,” he said.

“It’s actually a tour that should be welcomed; it should be one of the highlights of people’s cricketing careers, to go on an Ashes tour of Australia.

“That means enjoying the challenges that you face on the field and also enjoying seeing another country, seeing another culture, meeting new people.”

Bureau Report