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Here comes Freddie!

England skipper is keen to put the past memories behind him and focus on winning the coveted trophy this time around.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 13:22 IST
C Shekhar Luthra
C Shekhar Luthra

England skipper Andrew Flintoff is keen to put the memories of the last Champions Trophy behind him and focus on winning the coveted trophy this time around.

Though, like the reigning champions West Indies, England too have not been tipped as favourites to go all the way this time, Flintoff still hopes that the lessons learnt during this year's one-day series against India here would help them a great deal in the next few weeks.

"We reached the final of Champions Trophy two years ago and we want to do it again," said the England skipper after his team's arrival in the Capital on Saturday. Having lost 20 off their last 26 ODIs, England's recent record in the shorter ver sion hardly puts them at par with the favourites for the race.

"The two favourite teams are definitely India and Australia. But like the last time, when the West Indies and we got past the other top teams, we have to play with complete belief in our abilities," said Flintoff, adding: “We did well against Pakistan this summer, coming back from 2-0 down to draw the series 2-2. We have a young talented side and we only need to be consistent.” It was the lack of consistency that cost England dear during their tour of India early this year. “When you are on top you got to finish it off, which we failed in the one-day series against India. We played some good cricket to put India under pressure couple of times.

But we failed to finish.” “We gained valuable experience about the conditions here and hope to capitalise on that,” said Flintoff, who has returned to full fitness in time for this and the all-important Ashes series, after recuperating from an ankle injury.” “My body is responding well to the training after the operation. Though I have not played a great deal of cricket in the last 13-14 weeks, I need to get the cobwebs out as we have a week before the first game here,” he said.

England will start the tournament with two tough games against India and Australia. "We have played consistently well against Australia ever since the last Champions Trophy. It would be nice to continue that record," England coach Duncan Fletcher said of the Australia clash.“That was the first time we beat them convincingly in that semifinal. From there we showed a marked improvement.”

First Published: Oct 08, 2006 15:19 IST