Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Flintoff May Be Handed Role of Stand-In Skipper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Flintoff May Be Handed Role of Stand-In Skipper

Article excerpt

Byline: MYLES HODGSON

ANDREW Flintoff is on stand-by to make a temporary return as England's one-day captain for today's fourth match of the NatWest series as illness threatens to prevent Paul Collingwood from leading the side out against India, writes MYLES HODGSON.

Only five months after being stripped of the vice-captaincy for his role in the drinking antics during the World Cup in St Lucia, Flintoff is ready to lead out the side again if Collingwood fails to recover from the stomach cramps which prevented him attending practice at Old Trafford yesterday.

England expect Durham all-rounder Collingwood, who only took over the captaincy of the one-day side earlier this summer, to be fit and have refused to speculate about the identity of a temporary captain should he fail to recover.

But, having established that Flintoff would take over should Collingwood be forced off the field temporarily, it seems inconceivable that England's talisman would not be asked to captain should it be required for a longer period.

It would represent an emotional return for Flintoff, who has not featured for England at Old Trafford since the Ashes Test of 2005, at what he called his "second home".

"We'll worry about that if it happens," said Flintoff, who led England's one-day side to an unexpected success during the winter with victory in the one-day triangular tournament in Australia.

"I fully expect Paul to turn up tomorrow, toss the coin and lead the side. At this stage it's not an issue. I'm just concentrating on turning up tomorrow, doing what I need to do this afternoon treatment-wise and turn up with a good knee and play." Flintoff's only real rival for the captaincy would have been Kevin Pietersen, who has played a bigger role in the decision-making process on the field but is yet to have any captaincy experience at this level. …

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