Giles Clarke says Ashley Giles is 'strong candidate' to replace Andy Flower with England
Ashley Giles is a "very strong candidate" to replace Andy Flower as England team director, according to Giles Clarke.
Last Updated: 01/02/14 1:30pm
Flower stepped down from the role on Friday, and he is expected to take up a different role with the national academy in Loughborough.
Clarke says that one coach will now be in charge of the Test, one-day and Twenty20 teams - whereas Flower ran the Test side, Giles the limited-overs teams.
And Clarke believes Giles will be a leading candidate to take over the new role.
"He's a very strong candidate," Clarke said. "Ashley is a very valued employee of the ECB. We all have the highest regard for him both as a man and as a coach.
"He is a man of great integrity and great capabilities. He played a lot of cricket for England and is very respected in the game."
The decision will be made by the ECB's managing director Paul Downton and time is on his side. England do not have another Test until June, and in the meantime Giles will be able to stake his claim by leading the squad on an ODI tour of the Caribbean and then the World Twenty20.
"Paul will conduct a proper process," Clarke said. "There may well be other outstanding candidates that emerge.
"It will be a matter for Paul and those he chooses to advise him on that to decide who the right person is."
Clarke expects Alastair Cook to stay as Test and ODI captain, whoever takes over as the new charge.
"I expect Alastair Cook to be captain of the team for the first Test next summer and for in the ODIs at home," Clarke said.
After England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash Flower said he intended to carry on as team director. But talks with Downton led to the conclusion that one man should run all three senior teams.
Flower did not want that role and stepped down.
Clarke said: "This was Andy's decision. He felt going forward - in the new Cook era - that the three formats should be unified under one coach.
"That was his fundamental decision. Once that decision had been reached that he didn't want to be coach of all three, it was clear what his next decision would be."
The future of Kevin Pietersen - who was reportedly at odds with Flower on the Australia tour - remains uncertain but it should become clearer when England name the squad to tour the Caribbean.
When that squad was announced earlier this month, Giles described Pietersen as a "million-pound asset".
England have otherwise been reluctant to discuss the future of Pietersen - or any player - post-Ashes, with Cook due to meet Downton this week to review the tour of Australia.
Clarke was similarly reticent to discuss Pietersen's name was brought up at a press conference in Melbourne on Saturday, saying: "Today's about Andy Flower.
"I have to say I've spent zero time on Kevin Pietersen or whatever Kevin's choosing to do, or the selectors are choosing to do."
Clarke was more willing to eulogise Flower's impressive record in charge - describing him as "the most successful coach in English cricket's history".
The 60-year-old also expects Flower to remain on at the ECB.
"Andy Flower has a great deal to give English cricket," he said. "There are some other major roles that Paul Downton will discuss with him. I'm very confident he will remain with us.
"I think he has a lot to bring to the development of English cricket and the development of our young players in particular."