Strauss a special man says Flower

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Andy Flower is already plotting to help England make the most of Andrew Strauss’ outstanding leadership and stay well ahead of the rest of world cricket.

Andy Flower is already plotting to help England make the most of Andrew Strauss’ outstanding leadership and stay well ahead of the rest of world cricket.

The England coach described captain Strauss as a “special man” as he assessed the factors which have helped their team rise to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings, and spelled out his gameplan not just to stay there but continue to strive for new heights.

A winter of Asian challenges lies ahead for England, following the small matter of next week’s fourth and final Test of an npower series they have already won 3-0 against former world number ones India.

That scoreline, and England’s consequent inauguration as the best Test team on the planet, was confirmed by yesterday’s innings-and-242-run victory at Edgbaston.

Less than 24 hours later, after a night of appropriate celebration in Birmingham and yesterday’s announcement of an unchanged squad for The Oval, Flower is turning his attention to further self-improvement.

Asked first about what he and Strauss have done to put right a team which two-and-a-half years ago was languishing near the bottom of that ICC table, he chose instead to bring his assessment into the present.

Flower said: “What is right about this side at the moment is it’s got an outstanding leader in Strauss - he really is a special man.

“The players, after being asked to embrace responsibility, have delivered.

“Strauss asked that of them when he took over the captaincy a couple of years ago, and they are repaying him.”

The key now, of course, is to ensure England’s rise to the top is a beginning rather than an end - and Flower, like his captain, is determined to do so.