~~Flintoff is ready replacement for Vaughan~~

Published: Sunday, March 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Former England captain Geoff Boycott is convinced that stand-in skipper Andrew Flintoff would be a great success once given the job permanently because being an allrounder he has the ability to see a match through the bowler's perspective as well.

''Captains always get praise when they win and criticism when they lose, but Andrew Flintoff took to captaincy like a duck to water,'' he wrote in his column for BBC Sport.

The former skipper believes England have a ready replacement for Michael Vaughan in Flintoff, in case the regular captain fails to recover from the knee injury.

''When Michael Vaughan comes back he will retake his place. But at least England know that if his knee causes him to miss a match or ends his career early, they have no problems with a replacement,'' he added.

He said captains who are batsmen don't think beyond the situation they are in but bowlers have a better idea of what shape the game might take in over an inning's time or later.

This gives an added advantage to Flintoff, who is a fairly good bowler along with being a smashing batsman.

''Batsmen can get caught up in the immediate picture but bowlers look at the full panorama over two innings and five days,'' he said.

In addition, Boycott said captaincy has improved Flintoff by leaps and bounds and has made him more responsible.

''The job makes Flintoff more responsible. He has to knuckle down and it's making him a far better, far more dangerous batsman.'' While delighted at England's series-levelling win in Mumbai, Boycott is not quite sure of England's abilities.

He said they might have proven themselves to be a fighting side but still need to work hard to be more consistent in their performance as they prepare to defend the Ashes against the Australians later this year.

''I am delighted by England's performance to come back and tie the series in India - it was a fantastic achievement. But one swallow does not make a summer,'' he asserted.

''The right signs are there but there is still work to do before they can go to Australia with a strong chance of retaining the Ashes.'' Boycott also said the Englishmen will have to beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka comprehensively before they proceed to their title defence Down Under.

''Then they will be ready for the Ashes,'' he said.

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