London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has reportedly worked out a new contract for coach Andy Flower that could see him travel less to avoid a burnout. This clause is being included in the contract to fend off a bid by India, which has just lost the services of South African Gary Kirsten.
According to a UK daily, India offered Kirsten over a million dollars a year to stay on, but after he rejected the deal which would have made him the highest-paid cricket coach in the world, India have launched a hunt for his successor, and double Ashes winner Flower is on their radar, along with ex-New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming.
Zimbabwean Flower, currently on a 12-month rolling contract with a 250, 000 dollar salary, is reluctant to uproot his family, who has settled near Stratford-upon-Avon.
In the past, the ECB have let important pillars of England`s coaching set-up slip through the net before - notably fast-bowling mentor Troy Cooley in 2005.
Flower was also known to be outraged by last winter`s itinerary, which afforded England players and staff only three days at home between the triumphant Ashes tour and flying out to the World Cup.
ECB managing director Hugh Morris will meet Flower next month to discuss that punishing winter itinerary, may let him sit out a tour or two to keep him on board.
Former England coach David Lloyd last night warned Lord`s not to risk losing Flower and said:
"Of all the leading coaches out there - and there are some very impressive ones, like John Wright and Gary Kirsten - England have the very best. If you`ve got the best man for the job, you should keep hold of him and I hope they look after Andy,” Lloyd said.
He added: “The ECB have got to be mindful of his young family and the amount of time he is required to spend away from his kids. They need to make any arrangement as comfortable for him as possible. And if he needs to spend more time at home, I don`t see anything wrong with him missing a tour - I would regard that as a massive step forward.”
Earlier this year, in an interview, Flower admitted he had misgivings about the sacrifices required of him.
He said: "I`m not convinced I`m doing the right thing by the family by doing this job. I`m a bit greedy because I`m trying to get the best of both worlds by helping to raise a young family and also trying to make a difference with England. I worry that this time can`t be regained. I worry that the kids might, at some stage, resent me for being away during these years."