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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 07:34 GMT
Freddie ready
With Michael Vaughan returning home because of a knee injury, Andrew Flintoff will captain England for the first time in a Test on Wednesday in Nagpur.

Apart from a brief spell at Lancashire, it will be his first opportunity to lead a side since 1997 when he skippered England Under-19.

So how will he cope? BBC Sport spoke to four people who have seen him in the role.

Warren Hegg
Warren Hegg
Lancashire 1986-2005, captain 2002-2004

Andrew hasn't had much captaincy experience since he led the England Under-17 and Under-19 sides but with the amount of cricket knowledge and experience he now has I can't see it being much of a problem.

Freddie took over at Lancashire when I had a hamstring injury a couple of years ago and, as always, he led by example.

He is an inspiration to any player, whether that's at county or international level.

Andrew Flintoff cuts a relaxed figure off the pitch
Flintoff cuts a relaxed figure away from the pitch

Andrew wants players to express themselves. He'll also command a lot of respect in the dressing room and players will want to play for him - they will want to go out there and do a job for the captain.

But he won't tinker too much with what Michael Vaughan has been doing: England have a winning formula at the moment and Freddie will buy into that, although I'm sure he will add his own little idiosyncrasies.

He's an aggressive and positive player, so that might show in his leadership - he will want to go for wins and there's never a lost cause with Andrew.

It will be interesting to see how much he bowls himself. He is one of England's strike bowlers and Vaughany does look to him to break a partnership and keeps things tight.

It's difficult being a bowler and captain - I'm not sure how he'll deal with it - but he won't shirk responsibility.

People have said the captaincy will add to his burden but when he gets the ball in his hand or walks to the wicket to bat, the amount of pressure on him is immense anyway.

He seems to take that in his stride and I'm sure he will take that attitude into captaincy.

Freddie's had to deal with a lot of tough things on the cricket side during the last five years and he will see this as another challenge to enjoy.

He's proud to play for England and he'll be very proud to lead his country out onto the field.

David Sales
David Sales
Northamptonshire captain

I played with Andrew in all the England age groups from 14 and even then he was a confident lad who gave it his all on the field.

He was very popular and we all followed him with the respect a captain deserves.

The management picked the side but when he was on the field he called all the shots and at the social functions he had to speak at he always did a good job.

He wouldn't be where he is just with great talent; you have to have a very good cricket brain and he has one.

Even if he's not captain he's always thinking about the game and different situations, and giving advice to Vaughany.

Andrew Flintoff will be under even more scrutiny as captain
Flintoff will be under even more scrutiny as captain

The only difference now is he'll be putting his thoughts into practice.

He likes to portray the image of himself as enjoying his cricket and having a laugh but underneath that he has a burning desire to achieve success.

Freddie's being thrown in at the deep end with the squad falling apart through injuries but when you have the bat in your hand it doesn't mean anything.

He'll just be a normal batter out there, although they will target him a bit more as captain and try to knock him off his perch.

England have relied on him heavily in the past few years, and he has been bowling big spells so there will be a lot of pressure on him.

But he's a level-headed guy and with the set-up England have got, the backroom staff will be helping him.

In the end it will come down to his tactical awareness and the decisions he takes.

Freddie won't be shy of putting his hand up if he makes a mistake but there is a good chance he won't make a single one and turn out to be a fantastic captain.

Andy Pycroft
Andy Pycroft
Former Zimbabwe Test batsman and Under-19 coach

He played in the two one-dayers and first Under-19 Test against us in England in 1997 and absolutely blitzed us in two of those games.

In the Test, he was instrumental to the English team's success, racing to a hundred and getting out very quickly after that!

I remember thinking he'd thrown away a great chance of making a double century after thrashing us to all parts.

He didn't play in the remaining Tests and even though Zimbabwe ended up losing the series anyway, it made a big difference.

Since then he has become a very different player, someone who cashes in when he can - he has matured a lot.

I think he will have no problems making the step up to senior captaincy - a kid who has captained at the age group levels has already been identified as having the leadership qualities you need.

There is no doubt he was a thinker of a game and a leader on and off the pitch.

Certainly, I knew at the time that he was going to be an international star of the future.

John Abrahams
John Abrahams
England Under-19 manager and former Lancashire batsman

Andrew has shown in the last 18 or 20 months the presence he has in a team and that was obvious, on and off the field, when he was captaining a strong Under-19 side.

Andrew Flintoff has a heavy workload as a bowler with England
Flintoff will once again be expected to inspire with the ball and bat
The success he has enjoyed has not changed him as a person and I'm sure the captaincy won't affect his approach either.

He has rarely been in a position where he has had to front a side but his knowledge is good and he responds well to responsibility.

He has been part of the England set-up for more than four years and had responsibility behind the scenes.

For instance, on one tour he was responsible for the fast-bowlers.

This is a big step but it is not too big for Andrew.

Interviews by Paresh Soni


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