Tribute to Andy Flower: The effervescent fragrance of a budding flower the cricketing world respects

Tribute to Andy Flower

Happy Birthday to Andy Flower, who turns 55 on Friday. He’s sticking to his love for coaching courtesy playing the head coach for the Lucknow Super Giants in IPL 2023.

5/5 - (3 votes)

With the sheer amount of cricket being played today, with the T20s becoming more of a norm than format, when one looks back at a time where cricket was perhaps not as commercialised than it is today, where it still imbued the essence of being a live wire than being more episodic in nature, one tends to reflect on the nineties. 

For that was a time where the sporting element was the more dominant template of Cricket that today seems highjacked by mega deals, franchises and the marketing paraphernalia. 

Back then cricket was more organic, still peaking to find the great crescendo and growing at the back of talents that were flexing their game at the world level. 

Cricket didn’t need fantasy apps to further cultivate its presence around the globe; yet it had talents whose sheer skill and sometimes, presence made the world fantasise about the sport as a phenomenon. 

Back then there were the Sachin’s, Donald’s, Ambrose’s, Waqar’s, Wasim’s, Waugh’s, Pollock’s, Inzimam’s, Kallis’s and Lara’s. 

But that wasn’t all. Zimbabwe had a certain Andy Flower and World cricket had a name that would go on to become the embodiment of sheer excellence, rare as they come and talented as only a few could be. 

Andy Flower united- not divided- opinion about his skilful batting, forbearance and the ability to consume-not be consumed- by pressure. 

And make no mistake, he had tons of it perhaps almost always till the end of a career that thought began in 1992, continued until 2003. 

Even today, the die hard cricket fan can rave endlessly and perhaps understandably so about the massive talent of a Tendulkar and Lara. The fan can wax lyrical about the sheer power of Jayasuriya and the lofty sixes of Afridi. We hear constantly in noted cricketing circles about the elegance of a Mark Waugh and Mohd. Azharuddin’s timing. 

Little is spared to appreciate one of the most daunting yet hugely undervalued achievement of Andy Flower. 

It’s almost as if there’s this step brotherly attitude spared to appreciate the fact that  Andy Flower actually immediately stamped his authority on the game by scoring a century on his ODI debut. 

But then centuries are hit everyday. Just that the famous Zimbabwean left hander hit his in a World Cup: arriving with much anticipation and amid rapt attention in the 1992 edition, scoring 115 on his first ever chance to don the one day jersey for Zimbabwe, remaining, lest it is forgotten, unbeaten at the end of the day against Sri Lanka. 

Yet, it’s the cover drives of Lara and the courage of a young Tendulkar of 1992 that find the most plaudits. 

Flower’s greatest peaks would come a few years into his game. 

During the Second Test of Zimbabwe’s tour of India played at Nagpur, Andy Flower harassed Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Sunil Joshi and Ajit Agarkar on his way to a rampant 232 not out. It would be the greatest moment of his Test career from a statistical point of view. 

A few months later, Andy Flower was flowering with the bat again; in the space of five days at Harare, from the onset of September 7 until 11, he’d hit a 142 and follow it up with an unbeaten 199. 

He was up against Shaun Pollock, Andre Neel, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis and yet emerged as an immovable force of nature. 

A watchful batsman who could get aggressive and change gears when the situation demanded, Andy Flower’s batting could best be described as a combination of sturdiness and purposefulness whose end beneficiary was always the Zimbabwean side often trying to punch above its weight. 

When Andy Flower had arrived in the Zimbabwean side, others such as Kevin Arnott, Andy Pycroft and Eddo Brandes were already international regulars. 

But when Andy Flower departed the scene, which wasn’t before hitting sixteen centuries and eighty two fifties (from both formats),  the likes of Hamilton Masakadza, Andy Blignaut, Dion Ebrahim and Ray Price were still growing in their careers. 

In between, he’d inspired and guided a fairly talented young crop of committed Zimbabweans such as Paul Strang, Craig Wishart and Neil Johnson. 

The Andy Flower impact was not just limited to his compatriots but spread like the effervescent fragrance of a budding flower even on his opposite numbers- whether a Dravid and Ganguly, Hooper or Chanderpaul, Kirsten or Cronje. 

There was a great sense of regard and much vaunted respect that Flower commanded. 

Someone who played cricket like it should have been played- with a sense of purpose and pride pride with zero arrogance involved. 

Yet, it ought to be said among the several things undermined about Andy Flower was his great game against spin; he’d remain until the last day of his career in 2003, an accomplished player of spin, someone who’d often bring into play the reverse sweep long before it became the trademark shot of cricketers in the nets before becoming the signature move on the T20 pitch. 

Flower was, is a trailblazer and an achiever whose love for the game allowed him successful coaching and mentorship stints with several sides long after he hung his boots for Zimbabwe. 

The renowned coaching stint with England long before the likes of Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone made Andy Flower just an important a character as a Strauss with his elegant batting in the middle. 

Even more recently, Flower combined years of cricketing wisdom and profound understanding of the sport to use it for good purpose for the T20 leagues. 

In the year 2020, he was appointed as head coach for Multan Sultans, St Lucia Zouks and as Assistant coach for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL and Gulf Giants in ILT20. 

Right now, he’s sticking to his love for coaching courtesy playing the head coach for the Lucknow Super Giants

Which is hardly a surprise because a giant of the sport, someone who holds the Zimbabwean record for most ODI and Test runs, is attached to the Super Giants camp! 

IPL 2023

Cricket is a game played by 22 but opined by millions.Caught At Point will try to inform you and humour you on the game’s newsmakers, trends and, emerging patterns. Expect those deserving praise to be celebrated and expect tons of ‘arsehattery’ gifted to those who’ve earned it.I’ll cricket sincerely,Dev Tyagi

You may also like...

IPL Tickets
IPL 2023
CRIXEX INR 300-250 IPL Final