Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Flintoff's Rallying Call to England

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Flintoff's Rallying Call to England

Article excerpt

FORMER captain Andrew Flintoff has called upon his England colleagues to pull together as they seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Caribbean Test series.

On Monday night, England held their first official team meeting since the devastating innings defeat at Sabina Park, and they now have three Tests to carry out their pre-trip mission of a series victory.

West Indies highlighted their own recent improvement during the match in Jamaica, playing with a discipline missing from their displays for a decade or more.

So it is going to be a huge ask for Andrew Strauss' side; for all their insistence that they are a happy camp, there have been numerous off-field distractions and rumours of fraught relationships in the aftermath of Peter Moores' departure.

"The spirit's been good but maybe we need to draw on each other a little bit more," Flintoff countered. "Help your mates out, help each other to try and make the side successful.

"We have all the ingredients of a successful side and we have to put them all together. That's going to be the test for people, when you go through something like that you still have to back yourself and that's going to be the big test of character.

"You can talk about technique and work in the nets but it is all about how people respond to what's happened. It's very important we come back strong on Friday. Sides who perform well and perform well for a time are the ones who people say have a good relationship between them and this is a true test of us now, a real challenge.

"After the game, we were very flat and probably a bit numb but as bad as it was in Jamaica, we can still win the series, we have to believe that.

"I can say this and that but on the cricket field we have to start scoring our runs and taking our wickets - I am confident we can do that."

It was midway through the first Test that Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, the two men vying for star billing in the England XI, were bought for a joint-record Indian Premier League price.

While that conveniently placed them on an equal footing, they have not always seen eye to eye from a cricketing perspective, particularly over Pietersen's ultimatum for Moores to be sacked. …

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