Fletcher doubts Harmison and Hoggard
Duncan Fletcher, the former England coach, has said Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard will find it hard to regain their Test places after both were dropped during the New Zealand series. He also says that Andrew Flintoff has to prove himself with the bat, but added, "I think it has become pretty obvious he is not a Test match No. 6."
He was speaking to Steve James of The Sunday Telegraph, who was Fletcher's ghost writer for his autobiography Behind the Shades. It is nearly 12 months since Fletcher stood down as England coach following the World Cup, and he has spent the time at home in Cape Town.
However, he is happy to speak his mind when it comes to his former charges. None of Fletcher's dream attack - Harmison, Hoggard, Flintoff and Simon Jones - are currently in the England side and Fletcher says he isn't overly surprised about the first two of that quartet.
"It's typical Harmy, I'm afraid. We've seen it over and over again. He could and should be the No. 1 one bowler in the world but he can't seem to be able to put it all together."
And on Hoggard he believes it has been a steady decline which led to him being dropped after a poor performance in Hamilton. "He always struggled when he was the main strike bowler. His speed has been dropping for a while. I heard someone saying he'd lost his nip but I thought it had gone a while ago."
Flintoff, who came in for some heavy criticism in Fletcher's autobiography, returned for Lancashire against Surrey this week and bowled 28 overs at decent pace. "I hope his foot does allow him to bowl properly because otherwise his batting will need to improve," said Fletcher. "I think it has become pretty obvious he is not a Test match No 6. He is a No. 7."