England fill Flower with pride
Team director Andy Flower deflected any praise directed his way towards the players as he savoured England’s Ashes triumph at the Brit Oval.
Flower watched his side claim the 10 wickets they required to bowl Australia out for 348, wrapping up the victory they needed to win the series with a day to spare.
Captain Andrew Strauss paid tribute to Flower’s input since taking over as coach earlier this year in the wake of Peter Moores’ shock departure.
But Flower was content to watch his charges enjoy their lap of honour from the dressing room, before declaring: “That’s their stage. They’ve done it, they’ve won that game, and the 14 that were used have won the series.
“I went to talk to a couple of our coaches and enjoy the moment from up there. The boys did really well - I’m very proud of them. It’s a great feeling.
“To see the crowd stay in for the presentation and celebrations, to see Andrew Strauss collect the urn, it’s very special.”
Flower cast his mind back to Monty Panesar and James Anderson’s match-saving stand - on the back of Paul Collingwood’s defiant rearguard - in the opening Test in Cardiff as one of the key moments in an undulating series.
Andrew Flintoff’s five-wicket haul in the second-Test triumph at Lord’s also drew special mention, while he reserved special praise for Strauss and Jonathan Trott, who hit a century on his debut at the Oval.
Flower said: “There have been a lot of special moments; it’s ebbed and flowed.
“The Panesar-Anderson combination in Cardiff was as good as a win. Collingwood battling there was an amazing effort from him.
“[It was] an all-round effort at Lord’s and by Fred on that last day - and here was an all-round effort.
“The man of the series is Andrew Strauss, as a leader in the changing room and with his bat he’s been outstanding.
“Jonathan Trott coming in to make his debut in this series, he can be very proud of himself. But I think they can all be very proud of themselves.”
On Flintoff’s run-out of Ponting today - a superb direct hit from mid-off to remove the Australia captain for 66 - Flower said: “It was brilliant. Special athletes have those special moments. To nip in, running Ponting out, was crucial.”
He did, however, sound a note of caution amid the euphoria challenging England to carry on their upward curve.
“My feet are on the ground and it’s important that this team’s feet remain there,” Flower added.
“We’ve won against a very fine side - they were number one in the world - but we’ve won a Test series, that’s it. There’s a lot more important things for these people to achieve in their lives.”