Flintoff prepares for more pain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Flintoff prepares for more pain

By Greg Buckle 03/01/2007 09:24:20 PM Comments (0)

Having already led his side to an Ashes series defeat, England skipper Andrew Flintoff was robbed of a century by his feeble tailenders on Wednesday and may soon be stripped of the captaincy.

With former skipper Michael Vaughan returning from a knee injury for this month's one-day series against Australia and New Zealand, the lion-hearted all-rounder Flintoff is preparing to take another giant blow to the chin if the leadership is taken from him.

Carrying an ankle injury throughout the five-Test Ashes series, Flintoff bowled only six of the 55 overs in Australia's innings of 4-188 on Wednesday at the SCG, but fellow paceman Steve Harmison said his skipper was holding up fine physically and emotionally was still a strong leader.

Earlier in Wednesday's second day of play, Flintoff made a courageous 89 in three hours and 15 minutes, but was ninth man out, caught behind chasing those elusive 11 runs which would have brought him his first century of the series and some welcome joy on a painful tour.

England lost 6-46 to be bowled out for 291 on Wednesday, with wicketkeeper Chris Read and the four tailenders contributing 2, 0, 2, 0 and 0.

"Yeah he was batting well. It was disappointing for him. But that's the way things have gone," said Harmison.

"Australia bowled in good areas and didn't give us much to hit.

"He tried to farm the strike as much as he could, which was the right decision.

"We just hadn't hung around with him, which was the only disappointing aspect out of it.

"I think Fred will be disappointed if he's not captain in the one-dayers, if that comes about, because Fred loves being captain of England.

"If that happens, it happens. I'm sure he will fall into line like he would if Andrew Strauss was made captain in this series."

Asked if Flintoff should be retained as captain, Harmison said: "It's not my position to say. I'm probably a bit biased, so I'm not going to comment on that one."

Harmison trotted out the same line Flintoff has used all series, that through four consecutive defeats, England was "sticking together" well as a unit.

"I don't think he's taking it any (more) personally than any of the rest of us," Harmison said.

"We're all disappointed, we're all despondent, whatever words you want to use.

"We were devastated. At the end of each Test match in that dressing room, it's horrendous - not a very nice place to be, as you can imagine, four-nil down.

"You have to put a brave face on. You have to come out and show some fight and try not to let it get into your game when the next Test match comes around and that's what we've done.

"I think Fred has taken it on the chin, a little bit more than anybody else, because he's captain."

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