Flower - Difficult for players
Andy Flower admits his England players found it tough to come to terms with the alleged betting scandal involving the Pakistan team.
Last Updated: 03/09/10 5:19pm
England coach Andy Flower admits his players have found it tough to come to terms with the alleged betting scandal involving the Pakistan team, but is confident both they and the game will come through the damaging episode.
Speaking for the first time since allegations of 'spot-fixing' during the fourth and final Test at Lord's broke last weekend, Flower conceded the game's image had taken a battering.
But he insisted his team were now focusing fully on the forthcoming one-day and Twenty20 series with Pakistan and the Ashes tour to Australia that follows.
"It's not great discussing these topics and nobody wants that sort of news on the front or back page," he told Sky Sports News.
"We've got to see the outcome of these investigations first, obviously it's a not a very healthy position that we seem to be finding ourselves in right now.
"But the game will survive, there's no doubt about that; it's a great game, people love playing it, people love watching it and that's why it will survive.
"Our team is very easy to motivate actually, when you're representing your country it's a very easy thing for the players to motivate themselves, I don't have to do that for them.
"We've got to focus on playing the game. We've got a Twenty20 game on Sunday that we're working towards, that's why the guys worked so hard out here (Sophia Gardens) this morning.
"We want to keep it as simple as that really, we don't want to live in a world of 'what ifs' and we're looking forward to that game at 14.30 on Sunday.
"Obviously it's a little different to the normal preparation but the guys are excited about the challenges ahead.
"We've got the end of the summer, a month off and then we go to Australia on a very important tour. So they're very excited about playing good cricket and getting into competition."
Speaking about the final day of the fourth Test which took place last Sunday, after allegations of the betting scandal were known, Flower said: "I think the guys did find it very difficult.
"I thought some of our cricket during this Test series was outstanding, especially from the bowlers, and Trott and Broad had a very special partnership early in that game at Lord's.
"So to be faced with those changing circumstances was a bit of a challenge for the guys but I thought they held themselves very well. They didn't get involved in any petty point-making and they made a point of carrying themselves in a dignified manner."
Flower also went on to explain Kevin Pietersen's exclusion from the England one-day and Twenty20 squad and insisted the decision had been taken with this winter's Ashes series in mind.
"Selection matters are always very tricky because you're talking about people's careers and their lives, so whoever's involved they're very tricky decisions to make," he continued.
"On this particular one, it was very simply for one-day international purposes and a performance decision. Kevin himself would acknowledge he's underperformed over the last 12-24 months.
"On the Twenty20 side we decided to leave him out of the two Twenty20 matches because there's a four-day game starting for Surrey on the day the second Twenty20 takes place and with our priority, at this stage, being The Ashes we thought it best that he get the opportunity of four days good cricket at The Oval on a good pitch to get time in the middle.
"That will be very important for him to get his confidence back and to find the rhythms of batting for a long time again."