Andrew Flintoff urges Paul Collingwood to take break

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The Independent Online

Former England captain Andrew Flintoff believes Paul Collingwood should return home early after his poor tour of Australia to focus on the World Cup.

Collingwood managed just 83 runs during a Test series England's batsman otherwise dominated, before scores of 16, six and one in the limited overs series so far.

Flintoff believes the all-rounder would be better served by getting away from cricket and return to his family, with his wife expecting a child next month.

"I'd be tempted for him to come home, because in the World Cup we're going to be need him playing well," Flintoff said.

"Sometimes you can try too hard.

"When it's not happening, you practice and you work so hard and you're thinking about it, you're dissecting your technique and you're thinking about what's going on.

"I found from time to time, just to get away from it, go and play with the kids or play golf, do whatever you do.

"Just have a break. It's amazing when you come back, everything you thought was going wrong just disappears."

Flintoff also voiced concern that England were unsure what their best team was less than a month before their World Cup opener against Holland in Nagpur on February 22.

"We need to find our best team as fast as we can and play it," he told BBC Sport.

"Out of the three World Cups I played in, four weeks before we never quite knew our best XI. It's a bit concerning to see England in the same boat.

"I don't think they'll be favourites by any stretch, but England do have a definite chance."

The 33-year-old also called for surprise World Cup selection Matt Prior to be removed from the opener's role after he managed consecutive ducks in his first two innings back in England colours.

"They've recalled Matt Prior at the top of the order - personally I'd put Ian Bell up there," he said.

"I think he's our best player at the moment."