England's captain-coach controversy

Flintoff wanted Pietersen to continue

Cricinfo staff

January 13, 2009

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'The support was there from me for Kevin as captain and I think as a captain you need to give yourself time to grow into the job' - Andrew Flintoff © AFP
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Andrew Flintoff has denied leading the calls for Kevin Pietersen to be removed as England captain and said he had hoped both Pietersen and Peter Moores would have been able to keep their jobs.

Last Wednesday the captain and coach departed during one of English cricket's most turbulent weeks. Pietersen resigned before being pushed after saying he would be unable to work with Moores on the West Indies tour. In the hours before the pair went, Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, canvassed the opinions of the squad over Pietersen's methods as captain.

Speculation began over which players supported the captain and which were against him, with Flintoff top of the list when it came to those who had problems with Pietersen. Flintoff, though, said there is no truth in those rumours.

"I hoped both of them could carry on in their jobs," Flintoff told the Daily Mirror. "I supported Kevin as captain, and I also enjoyed working with Peter. It is a shame that things had to end the way they did.

"I guess something had to happen, but I probably didn't realise how serious it was between them. Having only been involved for a short space of time I didn't see it coming.

"Captaining England is a tough job and obviously Michael Vaughan was tremendously successful. I filled in for a bit, and then Kev took over from him and you can see it is a hard job. The support was there from me for Kevin as captain and I think as a captain you need to give yourself time to grow into the job."

When it became clear that England would need a new captain, Flintoff's name came up in the debate. But his previous spell in charge was a difficult time and included the 5-0 Ashes whitewash, and he said it isn't a job he wants to chase again.

"The captaincy is not something I'm hanging out for," he said. "I had a go at it and I found it quite difficult trying to bat, bowl, field at slip and then captain as well."

Flintoff believes it is vital that the team move on from the events of last week, beginning with the West Indies tour starting from January 21. In total there are six Test matches against West Indies (four away and two at home), a host of ODIs and the World Twenty20 before the Ashes series starts on July 8.

The fall-out of recent days means the atmosphere in the England changing room early in the Caribbean trip will test the unity of the squad, but Flintoff believes any tensions will soon disappear.

"It is such a big year for us, we've got to start winning games pretty quickly and the only way we will do that is if we play as a team," Flintoff said. "I'm confident it is something we can do and I'm happy when we all get back in that changing room, we'll move on and there will be a laugh and a joke and away we go.

"It has been a difficult couple of weeks with everything that has gone on, it has ended up with Straussy taking over and everyone is confident that he'll do a great job," he added. "We need to start winning games and if we do that we can have a year to remember for all the right reasons."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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