sport

Flower plays down Twitter 'spat'

England coach Andy Flower once again found himself defending his players' Twitter comments after Stuart Broad's 'spat' with pundit Ian Botham.

Broad was not guilty of naming any names - including Botham's - in his retort, after England lost the first Test against India in Ahmedabad yesterday.

He was aghast too in a later 'tweet' that his remarks were being perceived as an argument with the former England captain, who had suggested Broad should be dropped for the second match of four which begins in Mumbai on Friday.

" ... before u listen to too many ex-playing 'experts' being negative, ask them if they ever won a Test in India," Broad's feed read.

In fact, Botham did just that - thanks to his own outstanding individual performance in the Jubilee Test of 1980 in Mumbai.

Flower is conscious of the pitfalls of players' tweets - and although he does not consider Broad's latest remarks too significant a cause for regret, he has nonetheless spoken to him about them.

Flower said: "I don't think what he said was a big problem.

"Look, I've had a word with him about it already.

"You have to be very careful what you say on Twitter.

"With so many athletes using Twitter as often as they do and the journalists watching very closely what is said I think it's quite easy to write stories about some of the comments that are made.

"It's inevitable. We have to educate our players on doing it the right way.

"I think in the main our guys are pretty good. I don't think it [this episode] is a big thing."

Botham advocated Steven Finn's return to the side in Broad's place.

That, however, will not be possible after Finn succumbed to a recurrence of a thigh strain.

He is to have a second scan on the injury on Wednesday, one which will decide whether he plays any further part in England's tour.

Flower is hoping Finn could yet join the England Performance Programme for a fixture next week, and then be back for the final two Tests, but has also admitted the fast bowler may yet have to return home instead.

"We hope we can get him in that and test him out - and if he comes through that he'll be available for the third Test.

"If there is structural damage he might go home and sort it out, because we thought it would have improved by now."

England called up Stuart Meaker as cover when Finn first hurt himself three weeks ago, and the Surrey seamer will stay with the squad in that capacity.

"Stuart Meaker is being retained as cover," said Flower.

"We hope Finn will come through his latest fitness test.

"Meaker is being retained for this Test. If we wanted to pick him, we could pick him."