London: England legend Ian Botham said on Wednesday Andrew Flintoff should be promoted to number three in One-day Internationals with England captain Nasser Hussain dropping down the order.
Botham, speaking ahead of the start of England's One-day triangular series with India and Sri Lanka, insisted Lancashire all-rounder Flintoff would thrive on the challenge of batting higher up the order. England starts the series with a day-night match against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge on Thursday. "I think all of us would like to see Flintoff bat at three," said Botham.
"I think Nasser Hussain should bat down the order in One-day cricket. "I think Nasser did the job quite well in Zimbabwe, shepherding the tail home a couple of times. I think that's his game, I don't think it is to come in and try and hit it over the top. "I think Andrew Flintoff, if you are to get the best out of him, has got to mature and grow - and the more responsibility he's given the quicker he'll do that, said former all-rounder Botham who, like Flintoff, was a powerful stroke player. "Lancashire saw that and it gave him the vice-captaincy.
I think his shot selection has been a lot better lately and I would certainly bat at him at three. Nasser doesn't get into my side at three. "We have struggled a lot when we lose our fifth or sixth wicket in One-day cricket. Someone like Nasser batting at seven can offer the side more. He might not fancy it too much but he does do it as well as anyone else.
I think also that Andrew Flintoff will outscore Nasser at the top of the order day in, day out." And Botham's fellow former England captain and team-mate David Gower said that now was the time to make changes in order to have a settled line-up come next year's World Cup in South Africa. "By the time we get to Australia in the winter the World Cup is very close and you're playing against a very fine side," said Gower, the most elegant left-handed batsman of his era.
"You need to know by then what you're doing, otherwise the last few games before the World Cup are likely to be disastrous. They have got two-and-a-half weeks now to make their mind up, back their men, put them in the right place and get on with it."