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Pietersen will thrive on captaincy: Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff believes the England captaincy will help Kevin Pietersen raise his game to new heights and will not affect his batting average in both forms of game.

cricket Updated: Aug 05, 2008 12:56 IST

Andrew Flintoff believes the England captaincy will help Kevin Pietersen raise his game to new heights.

Pietersen, who has replaced Michael Vaughan after his resignation on Sunday, averages more than 50 in both the five-day and limited-overs versions of the game.

Several previous England captains, including Vaughan, saw their averages slump as the strain of leading the team took its toll and it has been suggested Pietersen may suffer the same fate if he tries to temper his natural game.

But England all-rounder Flintoff is confident Pietersen will thrive on the responsibility, starting with Thursday's fourth and final Test against South Africa at The Oval.

"The one thing we don't want is for Kevin to change. He averages 50-plus in Test and one-day cricket and he is an unbelievable talent," Flintoff said.

"Everyone will ask 'will his batting be affected?' But knowing Kevin, he will probably average 70 as captain.

"You know what he is like. As soon as he is put under the pump, and people start saying things about him, he comes back and gets a big score. I would imagine he will do that this time.

"The first innings against South Africa in the first Test at Lord's earlier this summer was the one for me. A lot was said going into that series and the finger has been pointed at him by a lot of people.

"He is a bit nervous at first but gets his head down and blazes a hundred. That is a measure of the man. When you see things like that, I am sure he will take to captaincy in the same way, he will take it in his stride.