'Captaincy could bring the best out of me'

"It is something I'm looking forward to," said Flintoff who will lead England in the first Test against India.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 11:27 IST

England's Andrew Flintoff believes the challenge of captaincy could bring the best out of him during the Test series in India.

The 28-year-old all-rounder will deputise for Michael Vaughan in the first Test after the Ashes-winning captain suffered a recurrence of a long-term knee problem.

Vaughan will join vice captain Marcus Trescothick back in England after the opener departed for personal reasons on Saturday.

The England side is facing a crisis but Flintoff is unfazed by his extra responsibilities in the three-test series starting on Wednesday.

"It is something I'm looking forward to, to be honest," Flintoff said. "I'm involved in the game anyway - bat, bowl, field, slip.

"One thing is, I'm sure of my destiny now. It is not something I'm worried about, the extra responsibility.

"That could bring the best out of me, batting and bowling and my role within the side."

Flintoff said he would strive to implement strategies worked out by Vaughan and the team management.

"It will be a little more added pressure. I have performed under pressure before and enjoyed playing. It's not that pressure is something I want to shy away from or shirk from."

Flintoff was England's most influential player during last year's Ashes triumph, scoring 402 runs and taking 24 wickets.

His captaincy experience has been limited to leading his county, Lancashire, a few times, England's under-19 team and a tour game in Sri Lanka about three years ago.

"It is something I wanted to do, but in different circumstances," he said. "It is an opportunity for a young side, opportunities arise for young players to show the character and strength of this England side."

"It is Michael's team. I'm just going to carry on for a brief, brief time.

"The enthusiasm and the fun that he's put in, the determination and the character the side have...I'm just going to try and continue the great job that Michael does."

Flintoff has put off plans to fly home for the birth of his second child, expected during the third Test in Mumbai.

"I spoke to (wife) Rachael a couple of times over the past four days," he said. "She has been very supportive. I'm going to stay for the three Test matches.

"Between the Tests and the one-dayers I may go home and see the new-born baby."

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 11:15 IST