Melbourne - England Cricket Board chairperson Giles Clarke hinted on Saturday
that Ashley Giles could succeed Andy Flower as Test coach after the former
Zimbabwe international quit following their Ashes whitewash.
Flower resigned on Friday to allow the team to rebuild after their
disastrous tour of Australia, where they lost the Test series 5-0.
However, he is remaining a selector "for the time being", with
British reports saying the decision to stand down was his alone and not
prompted by the Ashes humiliation.
Flower had already ceded coaching control of England's one-day team to
former England spinner Giles, and said he had come to the conclusion that a man
in his position needed to be "responsible across all formats".
Clarke suggested Giles could take over all three formats, without putting a
time frame on any appointment.
"We would all agree he is a very strong candidate. We have the highest
regard for him as a man and coach of great integrity and capability," he
said in Melbourne.
"He played a lot of cricket for England and is respected in the game.
It may well be that other outstanding candidates emerge as Paul Downton
(England cricket's managing director) leads the process."
England's next Test match is not until the northern hemisphere summer, when
they host Sri Lanka.
Last month British press reports, denied by Flower, suggested he was not
prepared to carry on as England coach so long as Kevin Pietersen remained in
Clarke refused to be drawn in whether the controversial batsman had played
his last Test.
"I have spent zero time on him (Pietersen) or whatever he or the
selectors are choosing to do," Clarke said.
"I have been focused on ICC business and Paul Downton, quite rightly,
on looking at the coaching strategy as far as Andy is concerned."
Pietersen has signalled he intends to keep playing international cricket
until at least the 2015 Ashes, with a clearer indication of his future coming
this week when England name their squad for the one-day series in West Indies
and World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
England play their final Twenty20 international in Sydney on Sunday.