Flintoff backs Pietersen to power England to 3-1 Ashes victory
London: Former England captain Andrew Flintoff has said that he believes that star batsman Kevin Pietersen can lead his side to a 3-1 victory in the summer Ashes series, which is set to start from Wednesday at Trent Bridge.
Flintoff quipped that there is no reason why Alastair Cook and his men cannot continue their successful run this summer with the recent spate of English victories, with Justin Rose winning golf`s US Open, the England Lions winning at Australia and Andy Murray ending 77 years of hurt at Wimbledon.
Insisting that England is the best team in the world currently despite high world rankings on South Africa, the retired cricketer said that they have the best player in Pietersen, who is ready to dominate the Ashes series and spearhead England to a victory.
Stating that Pietersen is a world-class batsman with 22 Test hundreds, Flintoff also said that the fire is still burning inside his former teammate, adding that he expected Pietersen to make serious inroads this summer into the remaining 2,501 he needs to reach the personal milestone of 10,000 Test runs.
According to Flintoff, although the Australians will be scared about what Pietersen can unleash on them this summer, they will even more be disheartened by Cook, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, adding that Ashes debutants Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow also has the talent and skill to make an impact.
However, Flintoff advised the youngsters not to freeze like he did in first Ashes Test, and urged them to stay relaxed and play to their full potential.
Stating that the tables have turned on the once mighty Australians, Pietersen also said that they used to spend hours debating on how to stop the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting, adding that this time, they are facing an XI which is not as good as England.
Although Flintoff admitted that the new Australian coach Darren Lehmann is a talented individual and may get his side playing carefree cricket, he, however, said that England`s only true obstacle is coping with expectation.
Flintoff further said that as a sporting nation, although England used to be shocking as front-runners, he now sees a ruthless edge to Cook`s side for which they should cope with that pressure.