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Captaincy 'no burden' for Flintoff

The star all-rounder said that he has no qualms about captaining the team in the absence of Michael Vaughan.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 18:16 IST

Andrew Flintoff insisted the additional workload of captaining England was no 'burden' as he prepared to lead the side on home soil for the first time.

The star all-rounder had the leadership thrust upon him during the recent series in India after Michael Vaughan suffered a recurrence of his longstanding knee problem and led his side to a creditable 1-1 draw.

And with Yorkshire batsman Vaughan still out of action, Flintoff will toss-up at Lord's on Thursday for the first Test of a three-match series against Sri Lanka.

With England facing a packed schedule, including the Ashes series in Australia starting in November, ahead of next year's World Cup, concerns had been expressed that giving the captaincy to the 28-year-old pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman would impose an unwanted strain of the star of last year's Ashes campaign.

However, Flintoff said that leading the team had been a pleasure. "It's been great fun to be honest, I've enjoyed it."

"Getting the job in India, in slightly different circumstances than what you'd want to, was great. There were a lot of things said about batting and bowling and captaining as well and people saying it was a burden," he said.

"I don't think you can put the England captaincy and burden in the same sentence to be honest," Flintoff added.

"It's a job you want to do, it's a job I've enjoyed doing. When Vaughny comes back, he's welcome to it but it's been great fun."

"It was great in Mumbai and Chandigarh but I think tomorrow, walking out at Lord's, would be everything you hoped it would be," he said.

Previous pace-bowling England captains such as Bob Willis and Ian Botham were, at various times, while leading the side accused of either over-bowling or under-bowling themselves.

But despite leading what is said to be a new-look pace attack with Stephen Harmison (shin), Simon Jones (knee) and James Anderson (back), all injured, Flintoff said he'd have no trouble remaining objective about his bowling.

"I'll bowl if and when I feel I have to or I should do. The situation of the game will dictate that. There's been a lot of talk about my workload being cut down but, to be honest with you, I bowl if and when I'm needed," he said.

"I'm in good nick, the body's fine so I just play it by ear to be honest."

First Published: May 10, 2006 17:47 IST