Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff thinks it's unfair to go harsh on India’s Virat Kohli or England’s captain Joe Root for their team’s poor performance overseas. Recently, England lost the Ashes Test series by 4-0 and India is struggling by 2-0 in South Africa.
“I think it is very easy to criticise teams and their captains,” said Flintoff. “I think ex-players and journalist are too quick to do that at times. It is easy to write a negative piece than a constructive one," he added.
Flintoff wants critics and fans to be patient with two young captains. He thinks they will learn with time. “From my personal experience having been a captain I can say, when you tour and get beaten, it affects your form, affects your mood and then it affects everything,” he said. “I went to Australia as a captain and we got beaten 5-0 and I know how difficult it is. You have to understand that Joe and Virat are young and they are good enough to learn with time.”
Flintoff said that Root and Kohli are among the best batsmen for a reason and he is a big fan of them.
“What set apart the good ones are how they practice and train,” he said. “Virat is not as good as he is by any fluke. You see how hard he works and see his mind set. The mental side of the game is also the key because it controls everything. Root is a fantastic player, simply unbelievable player. I think he is in the top five players in the world. Before the Ashes series, I would have said Kohli, (Steve) Smith and Root in one breath but at this minute, Kohli and Smith are in a league of their own.”
The all-rounder also shared tips for the two sides. “The Indian Premier League is a big spectacle but some of the Indian players have to go and play in South Africa for a few weeks in their domestic games or in the English county cricket. It is not where the money is but if you want to develop your game in all conditions, then you have look at it. Mathew Hayden I remember years ago became a very, very fine player of spin by spending months in India,” said Flintoff whose remedy for the England team was to hunt for a genuine fast bowler or the ones present, to bowl fast consistently.
“If you look at both Australia and England battling line, there was very little to choose. (Mitchell) Starc we knew he could bowl quick, but the pick of the bowlers was (Josh) Hazlewood. The pace which he bowls spell after spell after spell, there was no little let off for the English batsmen. No easy time to bat off, they didn’t make it comfortable at all.
“In contrast, England with the ball had no pace, I thought Jimmy Anderson was very good. He bowled well despite everyone doubting how effective he will be with kookaburra ball in Australia and he proved everyone wrong. (Stuart) Broad I think, needs to be quick if he has to be in the side and play on surfaces like that. Chris Woakes didn’t have pace.”
Flintoff has applied for the coaching post of England cricket team. He talks about his chances and how serious he is for the post.
“The one thing I know is, at this minute it is something which I said and that it been picked up on,” he said. “Realistically, would I will be in a position to be a coach in 2019? I don’t know. Maybe further down the line, it will be a realistic option but it is not something that I’m going to dismiss.
“Lot would happen from now and 2019. As of now, I have a career in entertainment TV. My priority is family at the minute. I have two young boys who play, I love watching them play and working with them. I enjoy being around cricket. Then there is all sorts of badges and qualifications. I have got a couple, but I have not got all of them. And when the time will come to make a decision of a career change, I will discuss with family first as they are my priority.”