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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 17:58 GMT
Flintoff hungry for starring role
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport in St Lucia

Andrew Flintoff
The Lancastrian is competing in his third World Cup for England
Andrew Flintoff has set his sights on playing a key role in taking England further in a World Cup than they have managed since he made his debut.

The all-rounder endured disappointment in 1999 and 2003, when England were knocked out in the first round.

"I've played in two and never got to the second round so I'm keen to do that in this one," he said.

"At 29, I've played far more one-day international cricket, I'm better equipped. I'm expecting to perform."

England, who have never won a World Cup in eight attempts and not reached a semi-final since 1992, open their campaign against New Zealand in St Lucia on Friday.

The format of this year's competition means they will progress to the Super 8 phase as long as they avoid defeat against minnows Kenya and Canada - but the game against the Black Caps offers vital second-round points.

Although he has handed the England captaincy back to Michael Vaughan, much still rests on Flintoff's performances if the team are to do well.

The one thing we've got to find is consistency to play well for a long period of time

Andrew Flintoff
He is best able to keep the runs down as the fielding restrictions are relaxed going into the middle of an innings and his big hitting could turn a game.

"It is a big stage and a chance for people to shine," he continued. "We've got a side of match-winners who want to show what they can do.

"It's something that excites me and it's something that's exciting the rest of the lads as well.

"I'll probably be a bit nervous in the morning but I enjoy being out there. I can't put too much pressure on myself."

Flintoff believes England have as good a chance as any of the world's major sides to capture the trophy in Barbados on 28 April.

"I think it's quite wide open. If you look at the top six or seven sides, everyone's got a chance," he added.

"The one thing we've got to find is consistency to play well for a long period of time.

"We can win one-off games but we've got to keep going from where we left off in Australia, winning four games on the bounce."

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