Pattinson should not take blame for defeat, says Flintoff

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff has played down any negative impact of Darren Pattinson's unexpected inclusion in the team to play South Africa in the lost second Test at Headingley.

Pace bowler Pattinson, born in England but raised in Australia, leapfrogged over more obvious candidates following an injury to Ryan Sidebottom and into the team which lost by 10 wickets inside four days. The former Melbourne club cricketer has carried much of the blame, with the England captain Michael Vaughan admitting there was confusion over his selection.

Flintoff, who made his comeback from injury at Headingley, confirmed that the rest of the team did not know about Pattinson's selection until the Friday morning. But he said: "I don't think that should affect anyone's individual performance." Flintoff added that he had played against Pattinson in a Twenty20 match and admitted he had bowled a "decent pace".

The national selector Geoff Miller has sought an explanation from Vaughan following his comments about team selection for the second Test. Like Flintoff, Vaughan admitted England were unsettled by "confused" selection. Yet there remains doubt over who had the final say in the selection of Pattinson.

"The selectors are not here to make Michael's job harder, which is why I'd like him to clarify his comments," Miller said. "It's been made into a massive issue by the media and I want to hear his side of the story."

Elsewhere, the Australian Cricketers Association remain unconvinced there is a safe and secure environment to hold this year's Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan.

"There is a credible threat in all the major cities in Pakistan, including those which are hosting the event, and they expect bombing in the coming week. So it's what we are concerned about," Paul Marsh, the ACA's chief executive, said.

The ICC will decide whether or not to move the Champions Trophy in September out of Pakistan. England, Australia and New Zealand have voiced concerns after some of their players raised the issue of travelling to Pakistan.

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