Flower pleased with England riposte

Pakistan England

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Kevin Pietersen & Andy Flower

The work of Andy Flower, right, and the coaching staff helped England see off Pakistan 4-0 in the ODIs. “I'm very proud of the guys," said Flower

Team director Andy Flower spoke of his pride after England sealed a 4-0 one-day international whitewash versus Pakistan.

The tourists entered the rubber with a point to prove after losing the Test series 3-0 and delivered the perfect riposte.

The success, completed by a four-wicket triumph yesterday, is even more impressive given England suffered a 5-0 defeat against India in their last limited-overs appearances.

“I am very proud of the way the guys have turned this tour around,” said Flower.

“It is nice to see that the batsmen in particular have been learning and that as a side we have been learning.

“We took some hard lessons out of India and we have tried to take some of those into our training and then put them into practice. Some of the guys have been doing that well.”

England’s triumph was built around the performances of opening batsmen Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, who both struck back-to-back hundreds during the series.

Cook hit centuries in 130- and 20-run successes in the opening two games, and Pietersen followed up his 111 not out on Saturday with a career-best 130 yesterday.

Those efforts are all the more significant given the opening encounter was the first time the duo had joined forces at the top of the order.

“They have both been superb,” added Flower. “There have been some good partnerships between them and they have gone on to match-winning contributions.

“It is really nice to see Kev play the way that he did in the last two games; we know how destructive he can be when he’s in that type of confident state.

“Cook’s been outstanding - both as a captain and a player - and that’s been great to see.”

As well as thriving with the bat, the tourists also impressed in the field as Steven Finn, in particular, caught the eye.

The fast bowler was arguably England’s best performer in the aforementioned loss to India and kept up his fine form with 13 wickets in four games against Pakistan.

Kevin Pietersen & Adnan Akmal

Kevin Pietersen thrived at the top of the order in England's success. "We know how destructive he can be," added team director Flower

“Finn has been superb,” said Flower. “He was also superb in India and will be pushing hard for a Test spot. But it is nice to see him performing well on the international stage in one-day cricket.”

Despite the positives, Flower is not resting on his laurels and urged his players to keep improving.

“We are not saying that we are the finished article by any stretch of the imagination,” he added. “Fielding is always an issue that we work very hard on and there are a couple of weak areas in the field.

“Also, the skills against spin that they [the batsmen] are working hard on at the moment, those lessons need to be embedded.

“There still needs to be significant improvement in that area if we want to compete with sub-continental teams out in these regions.”

Attention now turns to a three-match Twenty20 series against Misbah-ul-Haq’s team, which gets under way tomorrow.

With the World T20 in Sri Lanka seven months away, Flower feels playing the game’s shortest form in the sub-continent will provide valuable experience as England look to defend their crown.

“Even the one-day [50-over] games are vitally important to learning the skills and method that we’re going to need in the T20 World Cup,” he added.

“But, of course, the Twenty20s are more specifically useful, so it’s a really important series for us and we will be going out to win it.”

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