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Flower's reign ends - Reports

Andy Flower's tenure as England team director has reportedly come to an end.

Flower is to move on from his role as Test coach following England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash this winter, it has been claimed.

He himself made it clear, after the final Test defeat in Sydney this month, that he intended to continue and try to reinvigorate England alongside captain Alastair Cook.

But the Daily Telegraph has reported that, after a meeting with the England and Wales Cricket Board's new managing director Paul Downton on Thursday, the 45-year-old will not be given the opportunity to try to make up for the miserable 2013/14 tour of Australia.

Flower's five years as England coach have seen many high points, including three successive Ashes series victories.

The second, in Australia three winters ago, was England's first Ashes victory Down Under in almost a quarter of a century.

The Zimbabwean, once also the world's number one-ranked batsman, formed a fruitful alliance with England captain Andrew Strauss.

It was one which took England to the top of the International Cricket Council world Test rankings in 2011 - and a year earlier, under Paul Collingwood's captaincy, Flower's tourists also won the country's first and as yet only global trophy when they clinched the World Twenty20 in the West Indies.

Flower had already endured some tough times too, however, even before England's Ashes embarrassment this winter.

His working relationship with Kevin Pietersen broke down in the summer of 2012.

After months of contract wrangles between the superstar batsman and his employers, Pietersen admitted sending 'provocative' text messages about Strauss to opposition South Africa players.

Strauss subsequently retired, and it is thought Pietersen's 'reintegration' was largely at the behest of new captain Cook.

All appeared well, with another Ashes series victory last summer.

But from the moment the rematch began in Australia just three months later, nothing went right for England.

Former England captain Michael Atherton believes there were grounds to make a change.

Atherton said on Sky Sports News: "It's been a pretty disastrous Ashes tour.

"Things have gone badly wrong and the coach is responsible for that in many ways.

"From that sense it doesn't surprise me.

"I think he felt he was put in an invidious position at the end of the (Test) tour with stories about the ultimatum between him and Kevin Pietersen which weren't true actually."

Atherton stressed he did not know if Flower had been sacked, or had asked to step aside.

He added: "If Paul Downton made the decision it's an early big call.

"Ashes humiliations rarely end well. The last time they were whitewashed in Australia, in 2007, it cost Duncan Fletcher his job.

"In that sense perhaps there was an inevitability about it."

With the ECB now apparently seeking a successor, Atherton urged the national body to bide its time.

"Ashley Giles must start as favourite just because he's been in and around the system, he's the one-day coach," said Atherton.

"I personally would caution them not to rush in. Take their time, see who's around. There's plenty of other good candidates.

"It's certainly the most lucrative, or one of the most lucrative and highly sought-after, jobs in cricket, so there's going to be plenty of good candidates putting themselves forward."

Paying tribute to Flower's contribution, Atherton added: "He's been an outstanding coach of the England team, probably the best the England team has ever had."