Monday, 24 August 2009

Flintoff wants England domination



Andrew flintoff


Andrew Flintoff has challenged the England players to prove they are the best in the world after retiring from Test cricket with an Ashes victory.
England defeated Australia at The Oval to seal a 2-1 series win and ensured Flintoff ended his career on a high.
"There is no reason they cannot be the best," said Flintoff. "They have got a fantastic captain and a talented team."
The 31-year-old, a key member of the triumphant 2005 team, added: "To win the Ashes twice is everything."
Flintoff played 78 Tests in an 11-year career, taking 225 wickets and scoring 3,816 runs.
And the Lancastrian added: "I loved playing Test cricket - it feels strange talking about it in the past tense.

Ben Dirs
"It's one of those things you don't want to end - but like all things it comes to an end at some point and I couldn't ask for a better way for it to finish. Steve Harmison
"To win the Ashes twice is everything. I'm proud to be English and represent my country and I feel very fortunate to do it on and off for the last 10, 11 years or so."
Flintoff's Test career was undermined by a series of injuries and he visibly struggled through the recently completed Ashes series. He was left out of the fourth Test at Headingley and bowled at well below his full pace at The Oval.
He categorically ruled out any possibility of a return to the Test arena in the future.
"I have made my decision, or rather the decision has been made for me," added Flintoff.
"I have had all these operations - bowling and Test cricket do not seem to match. Now I am setting my sights on being the best one-day player in the world."
If there's any lesson to learn from 2005 now, it's to go for domination, to try to get number one in the world
Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff was the man of the series in 2005 as England defeated Australia 2-1, a result that sparked huge celebrations.
Television shots the day after the victory was clinched showed the all-rounder looking visibly worse for wear, but he was keen to stress his enjoyment had been more low key in 2009.
"I remember 2005 - contrary to popular belief - 2005 was fantastic, it almost snuck up on us," said Flintoff.
"I lived for the moment then and celebrated hard. But this time it was something which I savoured.
"It was quite nice - all the families came over. I sat with my wife and my kids, my dad who has done so much for me throughout my career.
"I was able to have a beer with my dad. It was very different but in a lot of ways far more enjoyable."
Stuart Broad won the man of the match award in the decisive final Test following a destructive spell of 5-37 as Australia were bowled out for 160 in their first innings.
The Nottinghamshire played also scored 37 and 29 batting at number eight - prompting suggestions that he can take Flintoff's role as England's all-rounder.
"He's better than me in a lot of ways," said Flintoff of Broad.
"He's only 23 and he's performing at the highest level. Broady has a lot of potential but he's already showing it. Changing the course of the game at such a young age is very special.
"We have also seen signs of what he can do with the bat. He's not the finished article but he has huge potential. He could bat at number three in the future."
England failed to build on their Ashes victory in 2005 and lost the return series in Australia 5-0 - with Flintoff captaining the side in the absence of the injured Michael Vaughan.
But the all-rounder added that he felt the current England side, coached by Andy Flower, could look forward to a successful future.
"What I think we need to do is, if there's any lesson to learn from 2005 now, it's to go for domination, to try to get number one in the world," he said.
"We've got the talent, we've got the side to do it. It's just a case of believing it and putting it into practice.
"One comforting thing is, having seen the past five Test matches, is that I'll disappear and the England side will be in good hands.
"The likes of Jonathan Trott coming in and everybody's forgetting about Kevin Pietersen. Our best player has not played the bulk of this Test series. So the future of the side is in good hands."
Flintoff's close friend Steve Harmison took 3-54 in the second innings on Sunday as England won by 197 - and afterwards the Durham bowler said he was unsure about his Test future.
However, Flintoff is confident that Harmison can go on to become one of his country's all-time leading wicket takers.
"If I was Steve Harmison and could bowl like that I would keep going," he added.
"If you ask any batsman in the world 'who do you not want to face' it would be Steve Harmison.
"He could end up being one of the greats for England. He could go on to be our leading wicket-taker of all time. If he wants to, there is still a lot more to come."

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