England can win Champions Trophy: Flintoff

Published: Saturday, October 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi :Andrew Flintoff arrived in India bristling with confidence that he can lead England to success in the Champions Trophy.

"We don't fear anything," the England skipper told a press conference here on Saturday. "We go out to express ourselves."

"We are confident and believe we can beat anyone," he said, despite not having played since undergoing ankle surgery.

"My fitness is good ... 10 and a half weeks after the operation. Everything I've asked of it so far it has responded well."

And lack of match practice was not a concern either, Flintoff said. "I've been batting at home in the nets ... got the cobwebs out.

"It's not something I'm worried about. I'm not a player who feels I have to bat day in day out."

But the burly all-rounder is not expected to risk bowling in the opening matches. Flintoff said he had been working at about 60 percent in the nets back home.

Where he will bat had yet to be decided, he said, not ruling out even opening.

Flintoff was first given the captaincy on England's tour of India in February when Michael Vaughan broke down.

The 28-year-old grabbed 11 wickets in three Tests and hit four successive half centuries as England fought back to draw the series against powerful India.

But England took a pasting in the one-day series losing 5-1 and Flintoff was rested after the opening encounters.

He said he was relishing both the return to India and the "big crowds ... every game is a big occasion," as well as the captaincy.

Flintoff insisted he did not feel under pressure as captain. "I think it's brought the best out of me sometimes," he said.

The re-shaped England team was "well-balanced," coach Duncan Fletcher said, noting that despite some inexperience the fight-back to draw the one-day series against Pakistan in August "showed they had the character to do it,"

"There's a lot of talent in the side. A lot of good young players in the side," Flintoff added.

"We need to go in there confident, believing we can beat the sides that we play against."

Flintoff recalled that England reached the finals of the last Champion Trophy at The Oval and went down to the West Indies.

England face a daunting task against India in the opening game of the main tournament in Jaipur on October 15 before taking on world number one Australia on Oct 21.


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