Flower: Queenstown stint was no holiday
Andy Flower has taken issue with suggestions that England had a "holiday camp" at the start of their Test tour of New Zealand.
The coach sanctioned, and indeed took part himself, in a canyon swing when England had a day off before their warm-up match at the end of last month. That was just one of the activities on offer in Queenstown, a tourist destination which is surrounded by mountainous terrain, lakeland and breathtaking scenery.
That was possible in the spare time before their four-day fixture against a New Zealand XI. And Flower said: "There's been a little bit of criticism that we had complacency or a little bit of a holiday camp in Queenstown. I think it's inaccurate because I encouraged the guys to get out and do different things."
While his team were subsequently struggling in the early stages of the drawn first Test in Dunedin, however, former England batsman Geoff Boycott referred several times in his guise as a radio pundit to their "holiday" in Queenstown.
Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan also raised concerns in his newspaper column as to how easy it might be to switch quickly and effectively back on to cricket. Flower has no regrets though.
He added: "I think they should go out and experience the different culture we are lucky enough to immerse ourselves in on tour, and have these different experiences which are really exciting."
Flower arrived early in Queenstown with a small group of Test specialists, soon joined by team-mates after the conclusion of the limited-overs series on New Zealand's North Island.
Once in the south, England were advised against bungee-jumping but cleared to give canyon swing a go - although some of them preferred a round of golf instead when they had a day off at the start of their week together in Queenstown, where they subsequently lost to a New Zealand XI.
"There is the element of keeping people safe," Flower added. "But we encourage guys to have outside interests, and we don't want them to sit in hotels spending repetitive hours on the internet or watching movies or slobbing around.
"We want them to get out and be active and be interested in the world around them. I think it is a poor reflection on people if they criticise players for being inquisitive and curious about life outside a touring hotel."