July 15, 2003

Flintoff can be England's Gilchrist: Boycott

Wisden CricInfo staff

Geoffrey Boycott has said Andrew Flintoff could be an even more effective one-day international player if he was promoted to open the innings.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Boycott said: "For me Andrew Flintoff has been a revelation and shown he is England's most valuable player.

"Personally, I feel we need to experiment to find his best batting position. He can do so much damage so quickly that I would like to see him tried as an opener."

He continued: "Adam Gilchrist of Australia moved from Test middle-order to one-day opener with amazing results. Like Gilchrist, Flintoff could soon put the bowling side on the defensive and wondering what the hell has hit them."

England beat Pakistan 2-1 in the NatWest Challenge and defeated South Africa by seven wickets in the NatWest Series final at Lord's last week. These were two large steps forward for a new-look side which the England selectors hope will form the nucleus of the 2007 World Cup team.

Boycott added: "I think they played splendidly, fielded athletically and looked as if they were enjoying themselves."

Even more surprising than his generally wide-ranging endorsement of England's players was his praise for the selectors, whose decisions he has often criticised. He said: "Our selectors have done well and our team has done even better."

But any thoughts that the usually hard-hitting Boycott had gone soft were dashed with his comments about Vikram Solanki: "He gets out cheaply too often, playing extravagant shots that are not on."

This was Boycott's first major article since he revealed last month that he was optimistic about winning his battle against throat cancer. He aims to return to television broadcasting when given the go-ahead from his doctors.

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