England's captain-coach row January 18, 2009

I couldn't support Pietersen over Moores - Flintoff

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff: "I couldn't support him in not having the coach there, because I had a good relationship with Peter Moores, and I was open about that with Kevin, with Mooresy and Hugh [Morris]" © Getty Images

Andrew Flintoff has cleared the speculation over his role in England's captain-coach fiasco. Although both Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores - who lost their jobs as captain and coach - had his backing, Flintoff said he did not support Pietersen's move to oust Moores, and told Pietersen that.

As a senior member of the team, Flintoff's opinion was considered to be key as Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, investigated the falling out between captain and coach. "We had a sense of what was happening out in India and the one thing with Kevin [Pietersen], which I've said to him, was: 'As a captain, as a player, I'll support you'," Flintoff told the Observer. "The way I played proves that. I played for Kevin as I did for Vaughany [Michael Vaughan] or Nasser [Hussain] or whoever it may be. I didn't want him to finish. I thought he could have given himself time to grow into the role.

"But on the flip-side I couldn't support him in not having the coach there, because I had a good relationship with Peter Moores, and I was open about that with Kevin, with Mooresy and Hugh [Morris]."

Flintoff felt the players had to take responsibility for the recent reverses. "We don't want to get into the football scenario where the team gets beat and the manager gets sacked," he said. "As players we've got everything at our disposal, we've got the coaches and we've got everything we need to perform. We've got to take some responsibility. To be fair to Mooresy the one thing he's kept is his dignity. Because he's a good man. He is a good man."

In the wake of the row, media reports speculated over possible cliques in the team, but Flintoff did not see it as an issue. "Everyone's going on about cliques and this and that. I suppose there are. You get put together as a group of people. The one thing you've got in common is that you play cricket. Within that, you'll get on better with someone," he said. "That's not to the detriment of the side. That's how it is. If you're in an office or any other walk of life you get on better with some than others and that's how the England team works. When you get on the pitch we're all fighting for the same outcome. We want to win games of cricket. I really don't see it being a problem."

Flintoff backed Pietersen to bounce back strongly from the mess, as well as new captain Andrew Strauss to prove himself in the shorter formats. "He's his own man. We're very much chalk and cheese, but we get on fine. He's the brunt of the jokes sometimes, so we're going to have to tone that down. He's a good fellow. People are mentioning the one-day stuff [Strauss was named one-day captain for the West Indies despite not being part of the squad in recent times], but he's scored one-day hundreds. Knowing Straussy, he'll just adapt."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nabil on January 20, 2009, 1:37 GMT

    Also could someone please tell Harmison to keep his comments to himself. He is not even a team regular that warrants him commenting on the affairs of the England team. He should spend more energy on trying to make the first team rather than opening his mouth to say nothing of substance. The only ones that should be speaking to the press if at all are the individuals directly involved in the matter; KP as outgoing captain, Strauss as incoming captain and the relevant ECB people. This obsession by everyone with making statements to the press fuels more speculation and is merely tabloid fodder that does not help the team in any way.

  • Nabil on January 20, 2009, 1:24 GMT

    Many on the England team actually felt threatened by having a captain like KP who was likely to accept nothing less than the absolute best from them. He ruffled some feathers both in the team and ECB and they didn't like it because it revealed their own ineptitudes. For those who are actually good enough to be in the England team like Flintoff, it means living up to their true potential and that requires effort and discipline. The occasional good bowling and batting performance is simply not good enough from someone like Flintoff who has the capability of being one of cricket's greatest allrounders. KP might be arrogant and cocky but at least he has ambition! Being overconfident is much less of a crime than being mediocre which describes about half the England team. England have taken a massive step back in appointing Strauss who is an average player captaining an average team.

  • Damon on January 19, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    I suppose this was always going to happen with KP being who KP is....a deeply selfish yet hugely talented cricketer who wants to dominate in world cricket no matter how he gets there. Shame he isn't the skipper of SA or Aus - they may have given him the kind of slack to criticise the coach that Warne used to enjoy when he used to criticise John Buchanan! But this is the ECB we're dealing with and they don't like to be told what's what. This may cost England the Ashes. But no doubt KP will go on to be one of the greatest of all time with the bat. Maybe he did himself the greatest favour he could have rather than running himself into the ground dealing with the politics and demands of the captaincy!

  • Palaniappan on January 19, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    The captain should have been backed by the management and the team more importantly. I am for one, is always of the opinion that the captain should have the ultimate say in the team's selection. The captain is the one who is out there to play the best for his country and only he knows what or who best is needed for the team. The role of the coach is to toughen the players' mental skills ahead of a game. The coach is nowhere to decide about the team's composition. Its really foolish that the team isn't united esp. freddie,the senior player, who should have been the first one to back KP. It just shows the lack of cohesion and unity in the team. Freddie may be a valuable senior player but what he has ultimately done is break the dressing room unity(Maybe due to his ego clashes with KP). And again England are back to square 1 where they should have been the favourites to beat the windies and build up the momentum to the Ashes. But Strauss i hope makes a good captain.

  • gavan on January 19, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    As an undeniably influential part of England's team as a performer, Andrew Flintoff is peerles. However, since the events of the last few weeks, the amount of fawning publicity surrounding his seemingly non-partisan role in the demise of his captain and coach sets alarm bells ringing. It seems that 'Freddie' is just a northern lad, happy just to turn up and bowl fast, hit hard and sink a few beers with the opposition at the end of the day. Perish the thought that this might be part of the hype that has been attached to Flintoff since 2005! The idea that he didn't want to stick the knife into Pietersen is as disingenuous as the afore-mentioned simple yeoman schtick that Flintoff and his slick publicity machine has been peddling for years. I am no fan of Kevin Pietersen and believe he was the wrong choice for the Captain's job-as wrong as Flintoff's selection was- but even someone as arrogant and overrated as'KP', deserves some loyalty from his team-mates.

  • SANDY on January 19, 2009, 10:00 GMT

    Well done Andrew Flintoff...........some honesty at last from this sorry situation. How can Giles Clarke be quoted as saying that KP has acted with dignity, when the Coach has had to go in such a messy way? Perhaps GC will lose out to Lord Marland as Chair of the ECB now in the same dignified fashion!? After the KP saga, Stanford, and NO terrestrial TV, he should be asking how well are the ECB managing and portraying our Cricket to the wider world!?

  • Baruch on January 19, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    It still does not answer the question: Is the captain the CEO of the team entitled to command all team personnel including the coach in order take responsibility for victory or defeat or is he just a limited functionary who reports to the coach - who is the CEO ? If the latter is true, the credit for victory or defeat should like with the coach and if the former is true the captain is the one to take blame and credit. For effective functioning, the leadership definition should be clear and unambiguous - otherwise, no one is in charge. May be, that is where the problem lies in England. The responsibility is too nebulous. Keven - being a South African, probably imagined himself as an equal to Ponting or Dhoni or Smith - in weilding a substantial clout in determining what constitutes the team including who gets to be the coach - not knowing that the English style is as indeterminate as its performance on the pitch.

  • Abhinav on January 19, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    This is something which happened in the Indian board when Ganguly was dropped. He had the rift with the then coach chappell and it was just publicized to get media attention.... But here KP is a person who feels like talking anything that comes to his mind.... he is very aggressive and the England team was getting built for the wcup 2011 and all of a sudden a mishap occurs. But now KP can be off pressure and talk with his bat..

  • K on January 19, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    Somewhere I feel, KP made a mistake in clearly understanding on who was truly behind him and who was not. Freddie,Harmison et al have said so many things and now it is difficult to understand their true position. Freddie has no moral high ground, his captaincy has been a waste plus too much of drinking even close to the matches....remember world cup....

  • John on January 19, 2009, 0:20 GMT

    Politics and percieved power enters just about all aspects of team endevours . But I think it will come to pass that KP will eventualy rise to the top(possibly during the up coming series) as he has the carisma, ability, and definately enthusiasm to do the job. So Freddy dont get injured !

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