Andy Flower resigned as England's team director because he no longer felt able to revive the team's cricketing fortunes in all formats.

Flower, who oversaw an embarrassing 5-0 Ashes whitewash alongside captain Alastair Cook, became the high-profile departure much craved by public opinion after such a resounding and largely-unexpected defeat.

By calling time on his own tenure, however, he has revised reassurances that he intended to embrace the challenge of reinvigorating England with Cook's help.

Loading article content

Earlier this month, the day after whitewash was confirmed with a 281-run defeat in Sydney, Flower stressed his appetite for the battles ahead.

Twenty-four hours later, he and the England and Wales Cricket Board issued a statement refuting reports he had presented his employers with a 'Kevin Pietersen-or-me ultimatum'.

Flower reiterated the need then for a "calm and logical" review before decisions were made about the future involvement of any management or playing personnel.

It has taken another three-and-a-half weeks for him to conclude, after a meeting at Lord's with the ECB's new managing director Paul Downton, that he must move on - albeit potentially to a new role in the same employment.

Flower said: "Following the recent very disappointing Ashes defeat, it is clear to me this is now time for England cricket - led by Alastair Cook - to rebuild with a new set of values and goals.

"The opportunity to start with a clean slate and begin to instil methods to ensure England cricket is moving in the right direction will be an incredibly exciting challenge for someone. But I do not feel like I am in a position to undertake that challenge."

Flower's endorsement of Cook is consistent with his previous remarks.

It is an apparent departure, however, from policy established 14 months ago - when the ECB split Flower's role and Ashley Giles' as limited-overs coach - that he recommends one source of hands-on authority.

"In order for England cricket to make significant progress, I believe the team director - together with the respective captains - needs to be responsible across all formats ... to positively influence the rebuilding process," Flower said on Friday.

"This will ensure complete clarity and continuity ... and having stepped aside from the limited-overs squads 14 months ago, that is not something I am able to do.

"I do not therefore feel that starting the process would be in the best interests of all involved at what is a pivotal time for England cricket."

Flower's five years as coach saw many high points, including three Ashes victories and a long overdue win in India.

The second Ashes success, in Australia three winters ago, was England's first down under in almost a quarter-of-a-century.

Both Downton and ECB chairman Giles Clarke were effusive in their praise of Flower's performance.

Downton, whose own new role begins officially on Saturday, said: "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.

"We respect his decision and the reasons for it, but we are keen to keep Andy's experience and outstanding knowledge within the ECB.

"We are at advanced stages of negotiating a role for Andy within the ECB structure which will best utilise his undoubted skills."

Clarke added: "Andy Flower has not only shown himself to be a coach of great quality but also a man of great integrity.

"He has led England to great successes during his reign as team director ...

"I thank him for his contribution to England's cricketing history and wish him well in the future, and his continued role in England's cricketing success."

Flower, once the world's number one-ranked batsman for his native Zimbabwe, formed a fruitful alliance with England captain Andrew Strauss after replacing Peter Moores as coach in early 2009.

It was one which took England to the top of the International Cricket Council world Test rankings in 2011.

A year earlier, under Paul Collingwood's captaincy, Flower's tourists also won England's first and as yet only global trophy - the World Twenty20 in the West Indies.

Flower had already endured tough times too, however, even before this winter's Ashes.

His working relationship with Pietersen broke down in summer 2012.

After months of contract wrangles between the superstar batsman and his employers, Pietersen admitted sending 'provocative' text messages about Strauss to opposition South Africa players.

Strauss subsequently retired, and it is thought Pietersen's 'reintegration' was largely at the behest of new captain Cook.

All appeared well, with another Ashes series victory last summer.

But from the moment the rematch began in Australia just three months later, nothing went right for England.

There were suggestions, from outside the camp, that Pietersen and Flower's peace was becoming fragile again.

Another potential stand-off was perhaps looming over Pietersen's participation in the forthcoming Indian Premier League and his consequent availability or otherwise for the start of this summer's domestic campaign, in which the form of all England's 2013/14 Ashes flops will be closely monitored.

It was even mooted that Pietersen's name might not appear in the World Twenty20 squad, due to be announced next week.

Flower's departure should defuse that particular D-day, but tough times lie ahead nonetheless - especially after England's shorter-format defeats under Giles in Australia.

Flower admits he leaves his role with mixed feelings.

"This has been a very difficult decision to make, and I remain committed to England cricket and would like to wish Alastair Cook and Paul Downton every success," he said.

"I will remain in my position as a selector for the time being and am currently exploring possible roles within the ECB.

"The priority must now be to establish the direction and personnel needed to ensure England cricket moves forward."