England team look to Flintoff spark again

Published: Monday, March 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:England are looking to Andrew Flintoff's inspirational leadership again to give an impressive performance in the One-day series against India.

"He (Flintoff) has done a fantastic job (in Test series). He did not get enough time to prepare, but he was inspirational and led from the front," England opener Andrew Strauss said Sunday.

Ashes hero Flintoff was asked to lead England in the absence of regular skipper Michael Vaughan, who was ruled out of the recent three Test series against India due to a knee injury.

The ace all-rounder rose to the occasion and helped his team square the Test series 1-1 with a 212-run victory in the third and final match in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Flintoff was named both man of the match and man of the series for scoring 264 runs and grabbing 11 wickets in the three Tests.

Strauss said his team was keen to maintain the momentum in what would be a challenging series for his side.

"We have not performed consistently in One-dayers, particularly away from home. This is a great challenge for us, to build on the momentum we gained in the Test series," he said.

"Guys who came in the Test series did well and now there are some new players in the side. The one day series will give them an opportunity to stake their claims."

The left-handed England opener said playing against India would also help his side prepare for next year's World Cup in the West Indies.

"This series will help us know how good a side we are. With the World Cup round the corner, it is important we use this series to gain consistency," said Strauss.

He rated his team's chances "highly" in the seven match series starting on Tuesday, but said they wouldn't be underestimating India.

"They (India) have played good One-day cricket recently," he said.

India will be without star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who has been ruled out of the series due to a shoulder injury.

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