Well-equipped to tackle spin: Flintoff
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Well-equipped to tackle spin: Flintoff

England's star allrounder fired the first salvo at the Indians saying he had a 'backup of different shots' to counter the famed home team spinners.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 19:03 IST

England's star cricketer Andrew Flintoffon Fridayfired the first salvo at the Indians ahead of the Test series, saying he was well prepared to counter the famed home team spinners.

Flintoff, regarded as one of the best allrounders in contempory cricket, said he was determined to set his records straight after his none-too-impressive performance with the bat during his last tour in 2001-02.

"My batting did not go according to plans. But since then I played my normal cricket a lot better. I have played various spin bowlers and fast bowlers. Yes, I am hoping to score more runs than last time," he said.

Flintoff said, like the rest of the England batsmen, he practised the sweep shot vigorously but denied it would be his major weapon against Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in the coming series.

"Coming of age is being able to play all types of spin. There are a variety of ways to play, sweep is just one of them. It is not the shot that I play a lot, but just trying to expand my game, play the ball in different areas, particularly against the spinners.

"It is a case of getting in my head how I am going to play, not being one-eyed, and having a backup of different shots to fall back on," he said.

The Wisden Player of the Year acknowledged that he was launched as England's frontline bowler and one of world's leading allrounders in India during their 2002 tour.

"I have realised that I could bowl a bit hard. Earlier I would just run in and bowl," the 28-year-old said.

"Quite negatively at times, trying to bowl maidens and keep the runs down, until I came in and bowled in Bangalore. From there I kicked on as a bowler, started thinking and expecting more than I probably used to, I think it kickstarted here in India.

"I came in 2002 when I had just got back into the England side. I thought I progressed as a bowler no end," he added.

Flintoff said he was thrilled to be back in Mumbai but had no plans of repeating his infamous act of pulling off shirt that prompted then Indian captain Sourav Ganguly to do his bit of chest-baring at the Lord's balcony later that summer after India's NatWest series win.

"It was an amazing place to play, the last of six one-day games. To come back is great, playing in front of 70,000 people was a thrill," he said after the team's practice session.

"I wouldn't do that (pull-off shirt). I am older and wiser now."

The Lancashire player said he had no problems with Ganguly either. "No we don't think about him. As England players, we have our gameplans to concentrate," Flintoff said.

Flintoff said he had not yet made his mind on whether to go back to England to be with his wife who is expecting a baby in a few weeks.

"It is four weeks away but nothing is set in stone. We will see when we come a little closer to the bridge. It could happen anytime, if it happens during the first Test, I could do nothing about it."

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 19:49 IST