What a time to lead Freddie, says Boycott

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:After 25 years of playing, Geoffrey Boycott can't think of a more difficult time to be the captain of the England cricket team than the present one but is still delighted for Andrew Flintoff, who will lead a side which has never played against India.

''Flintoff is England's premier cricketer, he is charismatic and it is a lovely honour. But what a time to take the job!'' Boycott wrote in his column for BBC Sport.

''I am delighted for Andrew but these lads have hardly played any (cricket). Some are coming in from the 'A' team tour of the West Indies and have never played in India before.''

Criticising the team for not playing enough warm up matches ahead of important tournaments, Boycott said this has prevented players from getting match practice.

''Two more warm-up matches would only mean another eight days away from the wife, the local pub and the football. This situation proves it. Where is the room for three guys coming in as stand-by players to find form in Indian conditions?'' he said.

''If you had two more warm-up matches then even if Trescothick goes home, Vaughan is ruled out and Jones breaks down, there is an opportunity for others to get practice.'' Describing India as one of the toughest places to win, the former England captain said English seam attack is unlikely to cause much discomfort to the hosts.

''England's attack is based on seam, which is rarely successful here. Spinners and batsmen will be the force on either side. And in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, they have two spinners who are far better than anyone England could dream of,'' he added.

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