Fletcher fears captaincy could douse Flintoff's fire

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, is still not convinced that Andrew Flintoff should take over from Michael Vaughan when the current captain vacates the job. Fletcher thought Flintoff captained England well during the drawn first Test against India but he fears the task of leading the side may detract from his all-round powers.

"He has a lot to do," Fletcher said yesterday in Mohali on the outskirts of the city of Chandigarh, the venue for Thursday's second Test. "He had a lot to do just as an all-rounder and adding the captaincy could be... But you never know with an individual. It might be just what he needs to step his game up to another level but we will only find that out later on. There might be a chance that it is asking too much of him.

"He captained well considering the circumstances. It wasn't an easy game. He was thrown in and had to grab hold of the reins straight away, which he did. He wants to lead from the front, you could see that character. He grabbed that ball on the final day when he realised it was his job to try and contain them for a while. He took the job in really difficult circumstances and he has done very well."

Fletcher's concerns are understandable. Flintoff is England's biggest asset and the coach is reluctant to do anything that will prevent him being the force he currently is. It was clear to see that Flintoff loved every minute of the Nagpur Test. At the post-match press conference it was hard to keep the smile off his face. But he also looked absolutely shattered and he will need to show remarkable powers of recovery if he is to be as fresh for the second Test as he was for the first.

The only modern player to have attempted to take on such a heavy workload was Ian Botham, and it is the statistics of England's greatest all-rounder while he was captain that are probably scaring Fletcher. Botham captained England in 12 Test matches between June 1980 and July 1981, and while in charge he scored 276 runs at an average of 13.14 and took 35 wickets at an average of 33.09. The pair are different characters but England will need more than that from Flintoff if they are to continue to push Australia for the No 1 spot.

With the chances of Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick returning to India declining by the day Flintoff looks certain to be in charge for the rest of the tour. At the end of three back-to-back Tests and seven one-dayers Fletcher will have a better idea of how Flintoff will cope.

Flintoff will be able to call on the services of Kevin Pietersen after an X-ray on the batsman's left elbow showed there to be no damage. Pietersen hurt his arm while diving in the field on the final day in Nagpur.

Following a knee arthros-copy last Friday, England paceman Simon Jones has been ruled out of the rest of the Test series, although the ECB says he has a chance of returning for the one-dayers.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
News
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor