January 18, 2007

English cricket

Press slam Flintoff decision

Brydon Coverdale

The move to return England’s captaincy to Andrew Flintoff instead of Andrew Strauss has not been a popular one with the press. In The Independent, Angus Fraser – who is on the committee enlisted to review the failed Ashes campaign - writes that the decision to overlook Strauss must be questioned.

The move smacks of weak management. The selectors must realise by now that Flintoff is a far better cricketer when the shackles of captaincy are removed and he is allowed just to play. Yet it appears as though they obsessed with not upsetting the team's most influential player in case it has a negative effect on him.

Richard Hobson, in The Times, agrees.

When it came to the crunch yesterday, the selectors were not strong enough to rule out Flintoff as Vaughan’s stand-in and the player — more understandably — could not bring himself to reject what may have been his one and only opportunity to show that the 5-0 whitewash was no reflection of his captaincy.

In The Australian, Malcolm Conn makes his view clear.

Keeping up appearances is clearly more important to England than achieving results. That can be the only logical conclusion after England again reinstated Andrew Flintoff as captain in place of the injury plagued Michael Vaughan. Great bloke and inspirational cricketer Flintoff may be, but he is a dud captain.

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Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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