Harmison his own man

Steve Harmison & Andrew Flintoff

Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff are friends on and off the field © Getty Images

Steve Harmison has dismissed “ludicrous” suggestions that Andrew Flintoff was appointed England captain because he is the only man able to inspire the fast bowler.

Harmison insists he would be fired up for the ICC Champions Trophy and Ashes regardless of whether Flintoff or Andrew Strauss was leading the side.

“I enjoy Fred’s company and he’s obviously a great friend of mine,” Harmison said.

“He will be a good captain for England but to suggest he has been made captain just because of me is ludicrous.

“Some people have said Fred can get the best out of me but that’s not the reason he was picked.

Steve Harmison & Andrew Flintoff

Harmison insists he does not need Flintoff to motivate him

“I always try to get the best out of myself. At the end of the day, I’ve got to walk off the field and know I’ve tried everything I can.

If a player needs somebody to be captain to get the best out of him, he shouldn’t be playing.

“Fred will be a good captain. It was a toss-up between Flintoff and Strauss to be captain but, in the end, it didn’t matter who got the job.

“There’s a good solidarity in the squad and, whoever was captain, the other person was always going to stick by him and be a good lieutenant.”

Harmison also denied he pulled out of the recent one-day series with Pakistan because he does not enjoy the limited-overs game.

“I’m not really bothered what people say about me - life is about opinions,” he said.

“I had a sore side and I don’t think I could have played in the one-day games - that’s why I was pulled.

Andrew Flintoff

Flintoff bowls during England's delayed first practice session

“I would probably have done myself more harm than good.”

Meanwhile, England’s first net session was disrupted after the practice ground made available to them was double-booked by South Africa.

The England squad arrived at the Sri Fort Sports Complex at 10am on Monday to find the South Africans warming up by playing football on the outfield.

The venue was arranged by the International Cricket Council, organisers of the Champions Trophy, and having two teams practising in tandem has been usual practice this week.

With South Africa taking first use of the nets due to their earlier arrival, England’s batsmen were made to wait.

But it did allow Flintoff, Ashley Giles and James Anderson - all returning to international duty after lengthy lay-offs - the chance for a light bowl in the middle.

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