Flintoff plays down England's one-day success

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff feels England's one-day success over Australia counts for little in relation to the Ashes and believes the two sides' forthcoming Test series against Pakistan will give a much better indication of how they might fare Down Under this winter.

England wrapped up the NatWest Series at Old Trafford on Sunday with victory by a single wicket, making it 3-0 overall with two one-day internationals still to play.

Andrew Strauss' side are now targeting a 5-0 whitewash and, having also triumphed against the Australians in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 last month, would appear to hold the psychological edge ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in November.

However, although Flintoff admits England's recent limited-overs record against the Australians will have boosted their confidence to an extent, the 32-year-old thinks the teams' performances in the longer format of the game against Pakistan this summer will provide far more clues about their prospects for the end of the year.

"I wouldn't look too much into it," Flintoff, who retired from Test cricket after last year's Ashes, told Press Association Sport.

"We are at the end of June, start of July and playing a one-day series against Australia and the Test side will be very different.

"With the two different forms of the game, we can take a bit of confidence from it, but I don't think it plays a major part.

"The one thing over the next few months will be to see how Australia and England play against Pakistan - the two series are both in England, so let's see how the Test sides have progressed."

Sunday's victory was sealed by a composed display at the crease by all-rounder Tim Bresnan, who has impressed Flintoff which both bat and ball for England.

"He has waited for his chance and has taken the all-rounder spot," Flintoff said.

"He won the game for England on Sunday by keeping his cool at the end and opens the bowling.

"I think we will see the best of Tim over the next couple of years and, while the bowling is one thing, I think he has got a lot to offer with the bat as well."

Flintoff has not played since last year's Ashes due to a career-threatening knee injury and is aiming to return to county action for Lancashire in the next few weeks.

He could then potentially find himself vying with Bresnan for the same spot in England's short-format sides, but Flintoff insists he is not concerned about his chances of forcing his way back into the international picture.

Asked if he felt he would face a battle to get back into the England team, Flintoff said: "We'll see. It's not something that I'm too worried about.

"My purpose now is to get onto a cricket field, performing for Lancashire and helping them.

"At this moment in time I'm just trying to play, first and foremost. Once I've been out there, we'll see where I'm at and take it from there."