ICL: Indian Cricket League

Ricky Ponting surprised at Flintoff nod for Ashes



Australian captain Ricky Ponting is surprised Andrew Flintoff got the nod to lead England in the Ashes but sees nothing in their squad to force Australia to alter its preparations,

“It doesn’t really matter whatever squad they have named. It won’t change what we do at all,” he said in the Malaysian capital, where Australia are playing a triangular one-day series with the West Indies and India.

“We’ve just got to get out there and, when it is Test time, try to play Test cricket again. We’re alright at the moment. We’ve got a fair bit of one-day cricket to focus on and look forward to, and when November comes around we will start thinking about the Ashes,” he added.

Ponting said he was surprised to learn the 28-year-old Lancashire all-rounder got the job. “I did think that Strauss would get the nod but obviously it hasn’t gone that way, I don’t know why. We will have to wait and see what sort of job Flintoff does,” he said.

“I believe Ashley Giles has also been picked, subject to fitness, and Monty Panesar is in the squad as well, so we’ve got both those guys coming out. James Anderson has been picked as well, I think, after not playing cricket for quite a while. So they’ve got a couple of guys they will be sweating on over the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Flintoff will lead an unprecedented large English party to Australia. As well as the 16-man squad, a further 14 players will be based in Perth on standby.

England’s chairman of selectors David Graveney said one of the reasons Flintoff was picked as captain was because Australia feared him, a remark that left acting Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke laughing hard.

“Flintoff is a fantastic player, obviously a very good bowler and he’s showed he’s an awesome batsman as well,” he said. “Any team that has an Andrew Flintoff in it is a much stronger team. But I’m not sure he’s feared. He is respected,” he added.

Flintoff has not played international cricket since the end of their home Sri Lanka Test series in June because of a left ankle injury.

England’s other injury concerns include left-arm spinner Giles who has been ruled out for the whole English season with hip and hernia injuries, and pace bowler Anderson, out all season with a back injury.

Durham quick Liam Plunkett also made it into the squad despite a side strain in the second half of the season, while strike fast bowler Stephen Harmison was included after missing the one-dayers against Pakistan with a side injury.

Source:The News

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