LONDON - Andy Flower has quit as England's head coach following the team's whitewash Ashes loss in Australia, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced yesterday.
Despite the former Zimbabwe international being in charge of England's recent 5-0 Ashes series Test drubbing in Australia, the ECB said they wanted to retain his services, while Flower himself said he would remain a selector "for the time being".
Flower, explaining his reasons for standing down, said in an ECB statement: "Following the recent very disappointing Ashes defeat it is clear to me that this is now time for England cricket, led by (captain) Alastair Cook, to rebuild... I do not feel like I am in a position to undertake that challenge."
In the same statement, ECB managing director Paul Downton said: "We are at advance stages of negotiating a role for Andy within the ECB structure which will best utilise his undoubted skills."
In December 2012, Flower ceded coaching control of England's one-day teams to former England spinner Ashley Giles, who has been tipped as his successor with the Test side.
But Flower said he'd come to the conclusion a man in his position needed to be "responsible across all formats".
"This will ensure complete clarity and continuity across the squads and having stepped aside from the limited overs squads 14 months ago that is not something I am able to do," he explained.
Flower, who said standing down as coach has been a "very difficult decision", added: "I will remain in my position as a selector for the time being and am currently exploring possible roles within the ECB."
Flower had been England's head coach since 2009.
He oversaw three Ashes series victories and guided England to the 2010 World Twenty20 title -- the first time they had won a major international limited-overs event.
Under Flower, England also rose to the top of the world Test rankings in 2011.
"Andy has been the most successful coach in England's history and we at the ECB are very disappointed to see him leave the role as Team Director," added former England wicketkeeper Downton in a statement that said he'd met with Flower earlier this week.
"We respect his decision... but we are keen to keep Andy's experience and outstanding knowledge within the ECB."
England beat Australia 3-0 in a home Ashes last year but were thrashed just months later in the return series.
And there was no upturn in fortunes under Giles in Australia, with Friday's defeat in Melbourne meaning they'd lost both the T20 and one-day series as well.