Andy Flower has come from the War Room, as it is known at the Kia Oval; a place replete with, depending on your point of view, inspirational quotes or meaningless platitudes. You know the ones: Vince Lombardi (‘Show me a good loser……), Teddy Roosevelt (‘It is not the critic who counts….’). Maybe, given his leadership record over the last three years, a quote from Flower himself would not be out of place.
England’s coach snorts at the idea of placing himself in such company, but, being open-minded, is taken by the Surrey way of inspiration by osmosis. No matter where you turn at this great ground, there is a quotation to absorb. ‘The cynical Northerners in my team [which I take as a pointed reference to his interviewer also,] may disagree, but I like these random quotes because they can encourage you to think differently. All it needs sometimes is a spark.’
Let’s start with a quote, then, one that greets someone descending the steps to the indoor school, and has Flower nodding in agreement after finishing a coaching session for the Sky Sports Coach Education Programme. By no less a leader than Winston Churchill, in fact: ‘criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of being.’