Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flower Refocuses after Health Scare

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flower Refocuses after Health Scare

Article excerpt

ANDY Flower can concentrate solely on England's Ashes campaign again, after an anxious week in Brisbane. England needed all the determination so evident under the guidance of Flower and captain Andrew Strauss since the start of last year to leave the Gabba unbeaten.

For their coach, though, the stakes suddenly became much higher than the outcome of a mere cricket match - albeit the all-important first Ashes Test - when doctors informed him he needed surgery urgently to remove a melanoma on his face.

It was England's much-respected security expert Reg Dickason who convinced Flower he should have a mole just below his right eye checked over again. The result was local-anaesthetic surgery, once the medics realised there was a danger of skin cancer.

Flower therefore had a new reason to thank the man so trusted by England to keep them safe around the world.

"Reg has saved so many lives over the years," he said, on arrival yesterday in Adelaide to prepare for the second Test. "He had been to see this dermatologist just recently himself and had a few things taken off."

Flower addressed the press at the team hotel, still wearing the stitches which will heal the skin graft on his upper cheek. "I was a bit worried about one particular area - which is pretty obvious to see - and he urged me to go and see this bloke as well. Yet again, it was another piece of good advice from Reg." After his scare, Flower was told that the surgeons have managed to remove all the dangerous cells - and he can therefore consider himself in good health.

England's players, and other backroom staff, can nonetheless expect another check-up while in Australia. "They are regularly screened," added Flower.

"More than likely, there will be another screening on this tour. Cricketers are in the sun all the time, so it's a real risk, and we want to make sure everything is okay with everyone. …

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