London, April 17:
Former all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has said England are as “strong as we’ve ever been” despite a miserable World Cup campaign.
England were knocked out of the quadrennial event in the group stages, unable to beat a full-member nation in the six-week tournament.
But Flintoff said he believes England are “on the cusp of something special” and that the early World Cup exit shouldn’t weigh it down.
“I played in four World Cups and we were terrible in all of them,” Flintoff told BBC on Thursday.
“But it seems that the side that is playing, they seem to carry the baggage around for everyone else’s World Cup before them. It didn’t go well, obviously, however that’s gone now and the side can now focus on Test cricket.”
England are currently playing the first Test of a three-match series against the West Indies away in the Caribbean.
“They’re playing in the West Indies, they’ve started quite well. They’ve got a series against New Zealand and then everyone is talking about the Ashes already,” the former all-rounder said.
“I look at the team England has got, I look at the batters, I look at the bowlers with Jimmy Anderson leading the side, and I think we’re probably as strong as we ever have been. I think they’re just lacking a little bit of confidence.”
He said if England are to challenge Australia in the five-Test match Ashes series starting July 8 in Cardiff, the skipper needs to get back among the runs.
“The captain will hopefully start scoring some runs,” he said.
“Alastair Cook is someone that I’d have leading the side every day of the week – such an impressive player, one of the England all-time great batsmen. Hopefully over the next few months they’re going to gain some confidence, go in to an Australia series having a genuine chance.” (IANS)