Flintoff criticism unfair, says Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar, Indian batting great and the man in charge of selecting the World XI, defended Sourav Ganguly, India's captain, after he was portrayed as selfish and lazy by Andrew Flintoff, world cricket's flavour of the season. Reporters sought Gavaskar's views after Flintoff claimed that Ganguly was a selfish and lazy cricketer.

Flintoff, who played alongside Ganguly for Lancashire in 2000, said in an extract from his forthcoming autobiography, Being Freddie: "You can accept a player not playing well, because we all have our ups and downs in our career, but he just didn't want to get involved.

"He wasn't interested in the other players and it became a situation where it was 10 players and Ganguly in the team. He turned up as if he was royalty - it was like having Prince Charles on your side."

Gavaskar said that Flintoff's view was a misconception. "Ganguly has been portrayed as somebody who comes from a royal family, actually his nickname is Maharaj, which is like Emperor in Hindi, but I don't think so," he said. "I find what little I've seen of him that he's a very hard-working cricketer.

"He likes to get into the nets and work at his batting and bowl in the nets, a lot more than perhaps do 20 laps of the ground or whatever that some other cricketers do. I think he's a hard-working cricketer, it's just a misconception, I think."

Gavaskar also added that he expected Greg Chappell, India's coach, and Ganguly to maintain a working relationship despite their recent blow-up in Zimbabwe. "We hope it won't crop up again," he said. "India's got a pretty busy season, we've got 12 one-dayers - seven against Sri Lanka, five against the South Africans - and then Sri Lanka come back (for a three-Test series).

"It's a busy season and we're hoping that everything will be okay. I know it's not always easy when you've had a public spat. But both are mature people and having spoken to them, the committee believes that they will put their misconceptions behind them and go forward."

Gavaskar said that Chappell and Ganguly had both accepted that they "might have stepped out of line just a bit" and would try to work together to take Indian cricket forward.