As England now decide on what to rescue and restore from their wreckage of a winter, there will be much focus on Flower and his squadron of backroom assistants. But where does responsibility lie? Are the players accountable for their own performance or does the environment they're in matter too?
Andrew Strauss articulated the puzzle perfectly when trying to defend England's management team. Flower, he said, deserves support because he has overseen so many successes. Equally he shouldn't be blamed for this series, because it's the players who take the field.
Management science relies on the myth that results can be achieved if the correct processes are developed. The moral of the Moneyball story was that there are no barriers to success. Given enough information and enough analysis, strategies can always be found.
Team England seem staunch believers in the management ideal. It means they place enormous importance in their pre-cooked plans and enormous faith in their ability to control. So better young players develop under their tutelage at Loughborough than out of view with the counties. Better menus are determined by the experts than let individuals decide what's good for them.
Players are required to be automators, delivering the agenda developed by the centre.
It made England incredibly proficient against middling teams. As long as there was no outlier x-factor that could elude management planning, England were ruthless. But whenever mystery struck – a doosra, a counter-attack, Mitch - England got derailed.
It's not that players took the field and unthinkingly performed Gooch or Saker's instructions. But they imbued a culture of management control that drained them of autonomy, accountability and the ability to think on their feet.
Though England are more extreme in their fondness for managerialism, they aren't unique. It's the direction all teams are moving. But it wasn't always this way.
The plethora of coaches is a fairly recent development in the sport. As Michael Atherton wrote recently: “On my first Australian tour, in 1990-91, we travelled with a manager, whose job it was to sort out travel arrangements and hand out disciplinary fines, a coach, a scorer and a physiotherapist.
“A player... could ask the coach or captain for advice; he could ask a senior player to have a watch in the nets; he could ring home and speak to a trusted adviser; or he could sort things out for himself. It meant that there was no less advice available than now, but it was less structured, less formal.”
The great West Indies and Australian teams got by without the dense layers of management England use. As recently as 2007, an Indian side led by Rahul Dravid and packed with senior pros secured a historic series win in England without a coach.
It won't happen now but as England ponder their new era it's worth wondering what would happen if they did away with a management team altogether.