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'Flintoff is two-in-one kind of player'

cricket Updated: Aug 21, 2007 11:46 IST

PTI
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Laid low after injured pacer Ryan Sidebottom was ruled out of the one day series opener against India, England ODI captain Paul Collingwood is finding solace in the return of talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.

"He is a two-in-one kind of player. He's a world-class performer and it's great to have him back," said an elated Collingwood, who would be hoping for the all-rounder to hit form in the seven-match ODI series which gets underway in Southampton on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the first ODI against India at the Rose Bowl, the England captain also backed his much-maligned wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who had a torrid time in the final Test against India.

"Matt has come in for a bit of criticism but we believe he is the best wicketkeeper-batsman to go out there and do the job."

Aware that his team can't brag about its rather mundane record in the shorter version of the game, Collingwood said the ODI series against India would be an ideal opportunity for the side to emerge as a better one-day squad.

"We've got a great opportunity of playing a lot of one-day cricket to develop our skills and approach. We want to get better and know we have to."

For the record, England has just 14 wins from 35 games since June 2006. In its previous series at home, West Indies beat them 2-1.

India has won seven of its last 10 ODIs against England. And after having beaten South Africa in Belfast, they will start as favourites in the seven-match series.

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