We are still learning - Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff believes England can learn some useful lessons from their 5-1 one-day series defeat to India.
Although the depleted tourists were comprehensively outplayed, Flintoff feels that knowledge of the hostile conditions will be of benefit to the youngsters coming through.
England appeared to have a chance of a second victory in Saturday’s finale at Indore after stacking up 288, but India showed calm assurance once again to complete their 16th consecutive successful chase in one-day internationals.
“On these flat tracks against a good Indian side you do learn quite a bit,” said Flintoff, who was rested once again ahead of the domestic summer.
“Sometimes in England when you play on green seamers everything falls into place but when you play somewhere like this you learn a lot as cricketers and probably something about the rest of the side as well.
“Overall in the series, we have not scored enough runs on a regular basis and that has got to be put right.”
On Saturday acting captain Andrew Strauss suggested 20 more runs would have swung the contest while England also lacked a cutting edge without Flintoff as debutant Robin Uthappa, captain Rahul Dravid, man-of-the-series Yuvraj Singh and teenager Suresh Raina hit half-centuries.
All-rounder Flintoff was understandably missed in the last couple of matches but he dismissed suggestions put forward by Australia batsman Matthew Hayden last week that England relied on him too much.
"When you look at last summer when we played Australia every Test match was a team effort,” Flintoff responded. “The one strength of this England side is that when we play well it is different people doing things.
“Somebody at certain times sticks their hand up and takes responsibility - I play my part within the side. So too do 10 others.”
With the World Cup beginning in March 2007, England’s injuries and absences were ill-timed.
Just as in the Test series this winter, the tourists have been unable to field their first-choice XI, which made great strides last summer against the Aussies, at any stage.
“We lost a few players coming into this, which gave an opportunity to people, and I don’t think we are that far off track,” Flintoff said of World Cup preparations.
“We have seen new people on this trip and others have got experience as well which augurs well for this summer and a year’s time.”
As for the five-day discipline, Flintoff also feels England are well-placed to build on their Ashes success.
He added: “I don’t think you can complain about the Test results in India. It was 21 years since we had won a Test match and a young and inexperienced side did that in Mumbai.
“Pakistan was slightly disappointing; it was tough out there and we got outplayed.
“But people have come into the side and taken opportunities and young players have gained experience, so I would say it is far from a sideways step.”
Flintoff, 28, was one of four players to captain England in a disjointed winter and he appears the likely man to lead the side out in mid-May against Sri Lanka in the Lord’s Test, with Michael Vaughan making slow progress following knee surgery.
“I would have liked to have been captain under different circumstances but it came along here and I enjoyed it,” Flintoff said.
“The pressure of batting and bowling with captaincy as well has not been a burden - it is something I have enjoyed.
“Maybe further down the line it is something I would like to do but at the moment I have done this trip and I am waiting for Vaughanie to come back now.
“Hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later. We don’t know what the script is with him at this stage, we are waiting to find out.
“But once I get home I am totally switching off, not thinking about anything, having a couple of weeks at home with the family, spending time with Rachael, Holly and my new son.
“Any other thoughts will not enter my head.”