| Andrew Flintoff
London: England cricket great Geoffrey Boycott has said Andrew Flintoff could be an even more effective one-day International player if he was promoted to open the innings from his current No. 5 berth.
Boycott, in an article reviewing England’s one-day home season for Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, wrote: “For me Andrew Flintoff has been a revelation and shown he is England’s most valuable player. “Personally, I feel we need to experiment to find his best batting position. He can do so much damage so quickly that I would like to see him tried as an opener.
“Adam Gilchrist of Australia moved from Test middle-order to one-day opener with amazing results. Like Gilchrist, Flintoff could soon put the bowling side on the defensive and wondering what the hell has hit them,” he wrote.
England, under new one-day captain Michael Vaughan, beat Pakistan 2-1 and, having lost their opening match against Zimbabwe, defeated South Africa by seven wickets in Saturday’s triangular series final at Lord’s. These were early successes for a largely new-look side which England chiefs hope will form the nucleus of their 2007 World Cup team.
And Boycott added: “I think they played splendidly, fielded athletically and looked as if they were enjoying themselves.”
Even more surprising than his generally wide-ranging endorsement of England’s players was his praise for the selectors, whose decisions he has often criticised. “Our selectors have done well and our team has done even better.”
However Boycott fans worried that their 62-year-old hero — who has crafted an image of himself as the ultimate plain-speaking Yorkshireman — had gone ‘soft’, would have been reassured by his comments about England one-day opener Vikram Solanki. “He gets out cheaply too often, playing extravagant shots that are not on,” insisted Boycott, widely regarded as the best defensive batsman of his generation. This was Boycott’s first major article since he revealed last month that he was optimistic about winning his battle against throat cancer.
In March, Boycott produced arguably an even greater surprise than praising England’s selectors when he married long-term partner Rachel Swinglehurst, the mother of his 14-year-old daughter Emma. Boycott, who had a reputation as a selfish batsman, played 108 times for England. After he was sacked by Yorkshire in 1986, Boycott found renewed fame as a television commentator, becoming an especially popular figure in Asia. (AFP)