England must begin planning for next World Cup says Andrew Flintoff

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff believes England need to decide this summer who their 2015 World Cup captain should be.

Current skipper Andrew Strauss is thought to be considering his position in the one-day side following a disappointing showing at the recent World Cup in Asia.

Former England all-rounder Flintoff does not know if Strauss, 34, will continue or not but hopes whoever does the job this season will be trusted to rebuild the side.

Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Stuart Broad could be among the leading contenders if Strauss does decide to stand down.

Flintoff, who played 141 one-day internationals, told Press Association Sport: "It would be wrong for me to comment on Straussy - I don't know what he is thinking.

"However, I think with the one-day stuff, people have focused on this current crop of players in this World Cup.

"But it goes back further than that. We got to a World Cup final in 1992 and we haven't been much cop in it ever since, even when I was playing.

"Rather than point the finger at these lads, it is something that needs to be addressed going forward.

"For the coach Andy Flower - the Test team is fine, it's going well - the biggest challenge is the one-day side.

"Whether Straussy carries on or not, the person who is captain is going to have to be playing in the next World Cup and building towards that in four years' time."

Flintoff, 33, was speaking at the opening of a new rehabilitation and physiotherapy unit at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool funded by his own AF Foundation.

The inspiration for Flintoff's foundation came from several lengthy spells of rehabilitation during his injury-hit career.

"We'd been to Alder Hey before when a friend of ours' daughter had quite a serious leg operation," said Flintoff, who was forced to retire last year after a long spell out with knee trouble.

"She was doing the physiotherapy in the old unit and when I saw it I thought it wasn't very good, considering some of the facilities I'd used all around the world coming back from my injuries."

The new unit at Alder Hey, for which the AF Foundation donated £600,000, includes gym-style sports facilities and Flintoff hopes it will be the first of many in the UK.

"I've gone through surgery and rehab just to play cricket again and in the grand scheme of things that is not that important," said Flintoff.

"These kids are trying to walk again, get back on their feet and lead normal lives.

"This is an ambitious project and the dream at the end of it is that every kid will have access to a facility like this."