Flintoff 'proud' of losing England side - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Flintoff 'proud' of losing England side

By Tim Clarke 18/12/2006 06:18:51 PM Comments (0)

England captain Andrew Flintoff struggled to find words to describe how it felt to lose the Ashes won so memorably fifteen months ago - but said he was still proud to lead the side to Melbourne, Sydney and beyond.

Flintoff's dismissal sparked the collapse of five wickets for 14 runs that secured the Ashes for Australia and, after congratulating the jubilant home side off the field, the England skipper said to lose the series hurt deeply.

"I am not quite sure I can describe it, I am looking for words - it hurts, it's hurting a lot," Flintoff said.

"But we are just going to have to get over it because we have got two more Test matches to play.

"We have not really been able to apply the pressure on Australia that we would have liked to have done.

"Every time we have had a foot in the door they have closed it on us. They have come back strong ... we have never really been able to turn the screw.

"We have played well in patches, but I don't think we have played well as we can do.

"The last time we played well as a unit everyone in the side fired at the same time, this time I don't think that has occurred."

Flintoff defended the selection of the side for the first Three tests, which has been criticised at home and in Australia for being too defensive.

"I stick by the side we took out there and I'm adamant we took the best side we could into the first two games," Flintoff said.

"These players will be around for a long time to come, have made great strides going forward and we still have a lot of talent within our squad.

"At times we have shown on the field how talented we are, there has been some great things come out of this trip so far.

"The young lads have emerged, the likes of Alastair Cook scoring hundreds and Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen, the bowling of Matthew Hoggard and Monty."

Flintoff said he was proud to lead despite the series defeat and would love to keep the job for the upcoming one-day series.

"I am still proud to be England captain and I always will be," Flintoff said.

"(The captaincy) has had its moments. It's a job when I took it on I realised that there are a lot of good things, but it has its downsides and this is one of them.

"You get a chance to lead your country, just coming over here and seeing what the England cricket team means to a lot of people."

England now goes to Melbourne on Boxing Day looking to get a result to avoid the first Ashes whitewash since the only time it happened in a five Test series in 1920/21.

"We can't mope around, we have got two big Test matches still in an Ashes series, and we want to give a good account of ourselves," Flintoff said.

"The disappointment has in some ways set in now, but I am sure it will hit home tomorrow even more so.

"It is going to be a tough couple of days ... but there is a lot of lads that want to prove that we can win a Test match in Australia, prove that we can play.

"I don't think we need to rally round the lads, I get a sense of how they are feeling from my own feelings."

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