|Player:||A Flintoff, MP Vaughan|
DateLine: 10th January 2007
Andrew Flintoff was the right man to lead England in the failed Ashes series against Australia, chief selector David Graveney said Sunday. England were thrashed 5-0 by the Australians in the first Ashes whitewash in 86 years in the final Sydney Test last Friday. Graveney said he had no regrets about making Flintoff captain as he confirmed Michael Vaughan would take over the captaincy for this month's triangular one-day series against Australia and New Zealand. Coach Duncan Fletcher conceded Saturday that he had concerns before the series about the extra workload on England's star all-rounder. "There's nothing that has happened in the last six weeks that would make me personally change my mind," Graveney told a press conference Sunday. "We've made a lot of mistakes, a lot of errors, but the appointment of the captain is not one of them. I take my hat off to him because it was a very difficult job for him to do, and he's done it as well as he possibly can." Flintoff appeared burdened by the added responsibility, averaging 28 with the bat and taking 11 wickets at almost 44 runs apiece. Flintoff was also criticised for his over-defensive field settings during the five-match series. Although he said he wanted to carry on as captain, he has now been replaced by Vaughan, who returns to international cricket after a gap of more than a year following knee surgery. Graveney said Flintoff had not been sacked and understood that he had merely "been keeping the seat warm" until Vaughan returned. "He was fine because he understood that he was doing the job in Michael's absence. It was not a question of being sacked," Graveney said. "He will be the same as everybody else, supporting the team. He's hurting the same way as everybody else is. Now we're looking forward to a fresh start." England play Australia in a Twenty20 match here on Tuesday ahead of the opening match in the tri-series against the Australians in Melbourne on Friday.