Image courtesy of: Zimbio
In a startling revelation, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has revealed that he made a mistake by accepting the Test captaincy prior to the 2006/07 Ashes series against Australia.
England went into the series with the coveted urn in their hands as they outlasted Australia 2-1 in a tremendous back-and-forth battle in 2005.
But, they failed to replicate their success as they endured a disastrous trip Down Under, which ended with them being whitewashed 5-0.
“Looking back, if I could change one moment of my career – and in some ways, I’m going to contradict myself, because I’m glad I did it – but what it would be was taking the England captaincy before the 2006-07 tour of Australia,” he told BBC Radio. “I’m glad I did it in some ways … I found a lot out about myself.
“When I took the captaincy for that Ashes tour, there was something not quite right about it – it wasn’t right. I remember being in Portugal, I was on one of these warm weather training things … I was training hard and in constant contact with the selectors. And it was almost like The Voice or The X-Factor, where it’s almost like a public vote – am I captain, am I not captain?
“I’m thinking, ‘If you want me as captain, just tell me, and I’ll crack on with it. But there’s an element of doubt in this’.”
Flintoff also pointed out that he had no say about who was included in the squad for the 2006/07 Ashes. When asked if he would have made any changes to the side, the 39-year-old admitted that he wouldn’t have picked at least “four of five” players.
“I remember I got unveiled as captain, we went down to The Oval (in London) … I was stood there, doing the press, thinking, ‘I’m not sure this is right – I am captain of a side (and) I have had no control who is on this side’,” he said. “I’m looking at my team thinking, ‘I probably wouldn’t have four or five of you at least’.
“So I’ve got no control over the captaincy, (and) personally, I don’t know how I’m playing, because I’ve been injured for so long – my sole focus has been getting fit. Andrew Strauss, to be fair, has been doing a decent job.
“So at that point, I should have trusted my instincts a little more. I got wrapped up in it, everyone was asking (about the captaincy), and you’re meant to say, ‘Oh yeah, I want to be captain’.”
However, during his time in charge, Flintoff admitted he learned that he could give more to the team through his all-round abilities rather than holding the official title of captain.
“I realised, probably afterwards, my best role in the team was, I could lead through performance and be a good right-hand man for the captain, not necessarily taking the armband,” he added. “For the side to be successful, I had to be playing well, and I had to be fit.
“At that point in time, I wasn’t, and with the captaincy as well, as the tour went on, it just got worse.”