England v India, 3rd Test, Edgbaston

England better than in 2005 - Flintoff

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 4, 2011

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Andrew Flintoff grabs another wicket, England v Australia, The Oval, September 10, 2005
Andrew Flintoff in his pomp during the 2005 series © Getty Images
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Andrew Flintoff, the man whose greatest years as a Test cricketer coincided with England's last sustained run of excellence in five-day cricket, believes the team of 2011 is a better outfit than the 2005 side that won six series in a row and regained the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

England's current run of form has carried them to a 2-0 series lead against the current No. 1 Test team in the world, India, and if they maintain or improve that two-match margin in the remaining two Tests of the series at Edgbaston and The Oval, they will themselves climb to the top of the world rankings.

In Flintoff's estimation, however, that handover has already been achieved. "England are the best team in the world already," he said. "Not just in ranking, but also in strength. They have got everything. I don't see why they can't dominate for a long time. They have strong enough players to do it. Australia and West Indies did it and England should be able to do it for the next few years."

The key difference between 2005 and 2011 is the breadth of the squad that England are able to call upon. Six years ago, England's first XI was formidable, with players such as Flintoff and Simon Jones peaking at precisely the right moment in their careers. However, they lacked the reserves to maintain their rise towards the top. Jones went lame with one Ashes match remaining and never played again, while the subsequent losses of Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan and Flintoff himself for long periods led to a long slide back towards mediocrity.

"This is a better side than the one we had in 2005," said Flintoff. "The strength of it and the depth is incredible. In 2005 we had 11 players who had a memorable few weeks and played at their best for a period, but we never played together again."

In the past 12 months, England have demonstrated a formidable pack mentality, particularly when it comes to their fast bowlers. When Stuart Broad was injured during the Ashes, he was replaced superbly by Chris Tremlett, who had himself risen to become the leader of the attack by the end of the recent Sri Lanka series. Then, when he suffered a back spasm on the eve of the Trent Bridge Test, Tim Bresnan - another Ashes reserve - stepped in to seal the match with a career-best 5 for 48.

"This side have a squad and they are so strong in and out of the side," said Flintoff. "We've seen them replace players without blinking and it has made no difference to the performance and that has been happening for a while now.

"There are no weak links. They are playing with a confidence and a swagger that goes with being the best. They've got every department covered and if someone gets injured then another one comes in and does a job."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

no its our compassion upon u

Posted by 5wombats on (August 7, 2011, 11:10 GMT)

@Nivantha Tennakoon; - "So its good that all the Top teams stay closer rather than one side.. No more one sided matches"... You are joking of course!!! So England beating Australia by an Innings THREE times and England Thrashing India by 315 runs - these are not one-sided matches??? I'd like to see a one-sided match in that case - perhap one like England V Sri Lanka at Cardiff???

Posted by britInBerkeley on (August 7, 2011, 9:34 GMT)

Yes, Eng. better than in 2005, because the old-fashioned batting collapse has gone away. This started with Eng's escape at Cardiff in 2009. But look at their resilience in SA, and at the Gabba in Aus. That's intangibles like leadership and mental strength. And today Eng is in better shape than it was then.

But, the 2005 Ashes was an all-time great series, which came right down to the last day of the last game! If Warne (a great slip as well as a great cricket brain) hadn't dropped KP, would Eng have won the series?

Posted by Legster on (August 7, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

A note to Sid - one cannot prepare "swinging" pitches, swing happens due to the atmosphere and has nothing to do with the pitch, if you are going to whinge then do so on the basis of facts, please. A seaming pitch, on the other hand is possible, but what happened at Lord's and Trent Bridge wasn't really seam, it was swing.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 6, 2011, 20:31 GMT)

@blackjesuz; "England looked toothless without anderson against lanka". Not a smart comment mate - England without Anderson destroyed Sri Lanka at Cardiff in the second Innings. Maybe you didn't notice? I was there, I noticed. Tremlett toothless! a ha ha ha!

Posted by 5wombats on (August 6, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

The thing is - that was a VERY GOOD (actually an Amazing) Australia side! For them losing was such a distant memory that it almost didn't exist. Certainly none of them had experienced series defeats against England. Those Aussies were some of the greatest ever players of this great game; Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist. I mean, phew! Then there were the players who were otherwise outstanding in their generation like Langer, Hayden, Lee. That's half the team that were just wonderful players! But look - England beat them! England 2005 were also a VERY GOOD side, and also they had a psychological disadvantage = none of that England side had ever experienced a series win against Australia. Sure, Vaughan knew he could score runs off them - but the whole team had to find a way to beat a GREAT Australia side. They found a way. As Freddie points out, England 2011 are a better all round team - but 2005 England won The Ashes and came from behind to do it. A superb series! The greatest ever?

Posted by Sid273 on (August 6, 2011, 18:00 GMT)

England are lions at home, just like India were termed to be in the past decade, but at that time India was never called the best team bcoz of their lack of winning ways overseas. When India prepared spinning tracks to play to their strengths, they were criticized, but when England prepare swinging tracks they are hailed Come on its their strength, they are playing on their home grounds, they are expected to be a strong team. Ok, they retained the Ashes, but against a very weak Australian side, whihc has been losing to everyone since some days, We saw how ineffective Swann was on tracks not suited to him. And you shouldnt be calling beating sub-continent teams in subcontinet a "zzzzz" , why? Isnt sub-continent an overseas thing for ENgland, let them prove themselves "overseas". Then we will decide, if this England team is really the ebst in business.

Posted by Sid273 on (August 6, 2011, 18:00 GMT)

England are lions at home, just like India were termed to be in the past decade, but at that time India was never called the best team bcoz of their lack of winning ways overseas. When India prepared spinning tracks to play to their strengths, they were criticized, but when England prepare swinging tracks they are hailed Come on its their strength, they are playing on their home grounds, they are expected to be a strong team. Ok, they retained the Ashes, but against a very weak Australian side, whihc has been losing to everyone since some days, We saw how ineffective Swann was on tracks not suited to him. And you shouldnt be calling beating sub-continent teams in subcontinet a "zzzzz" , why? Isnt sub-continent an overseas thing for ENgland, let them prove themselves "overseas". Then we will decide, if this England team is really the ebst in business.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 6, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster; "Also, the English bowlers rely too much on overcast conditions for the ball to swing", how do you reckon that then? It was hot and sunny at Lords and Trent Bridge and india got bowled out for under 300 every time, 150ish even. Don't try and make out that England only win at home because of their swing bowlers - otherwise how did Bell score 150+ at Trent Bridge, KP 200+ at Lords, how did Cook & Trott score so many runs in Australia and how did Swann bowl out the Aussies at Adelaide and how did England manage to win a Test match in South Africa last year? Evidence is important here and the evidence doesn't support what you are saying. I am really looking forward to watching England in india when we can finally nail some of these myths once and for all.

Posted by blackjesuz on (August 6, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

England looked toothless without anderson against lanka..thats not exactly depth is it? you want to talk about depth? who is there to replace swann? australia had macgill for warne.. who is there as a replacement opener? aus had hayden slater langer blewit to choose from.. who is there as a replacement for the middle order? australia has martyn lehmann, love etc fighting for positions..THAT was depth, england are just very strong when close to full strength

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