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Wright: Flintoff comparisons wrong

NatWest International T20

Niall O'Brien & Luke Wright

Luke Wright played a Flintoff-esque knock against Ireland but does not want to be compared to the Lancashire all-rounder

Luke Wright is adamant he should not be seen as a like-for-like replacement for fellow England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.

Wright is set to take on Australia tomorrow in the first of two NatWest Twenty20 internationals at Old Trafford ahead of seven one-day internationals against the same opponents.

England will have to do without Flintoff, who retired from Test cricket after England’s Ashes victory last weekend and is recovering from knee surgery.

While Wright is flattered by the comparisons, he was keen to play them down just as Flintoff did when likened to Sir Ian Botham - England’s great all-rounder of the 1980s.

“People always used to ask ‘who will be the next Botham?’ and then Fred came along, but you can’t really replace players like that,” he said.

“You just have to play your own game and I’ll do it my own way because there’s only one Freddie Flintoff. Obviously Stuart Broad has come on, done brilliantly in the Tests got the recognition he deserves but I’ll just go about things my way, try to perform and hopefully fill that all-rounder role for England.

“If people are saying that I can do that, then great, but you just have to perform on the pitch and that’s what I’m desperate to do.

“I’ve always said I want to be versatile so I don’t mind whether I open or bat seven or where I bowl.

Adil Rashid

Adil Rashid, who made his one-day international debut aginst Ireland, is another promising young all-rounder

“As long as I’m in the team I don’t mind, but you have to work on as many of your skills as you can. I’m happy wherever I bat and I’ve bowled a lot at the death for Sussex so I feel confident to do that too.”

While Wright is understandably reticent about anointing himself as Flintoff’s heir, he concedes the talismanic Lancastrian will remain an inspiration to the side for as long as he remains part of the limited-overs set-up.

“If you’re going to look up to anyone then why not Freddie Flintoff or Ian Botham?,” he said. “Anything you can speak to them about and get ideas on will only stand you in good stead.

“When he’s around everyone will be picking his brains and we’re lucky as one-day players that we’ll still have that. When he’s fit he brings a massive amount of experience and he also brings a huge amount with the bat and ball.”

Adil Rashid is also keen to distance himself from the inevitable Flintoff comparisons but with two five-wicket hauls and two hundreds in his last two LV= County Championship outings for Yorkshire, expectations are high.

Rashid, 21, made his one-day international debut in the narrow win over Ireland this week and also impressed in the recent World Twenty20.

“It’s gone well in the last few weeks, I’ve got a few runs, picked up a few wickets but I still have to work hard,” Rashid added.

“Andrew Flintoff is a great all-rounder in every sense, he’s proved that on the field and with what he’s done off the field too. With everything he has done for the game, you don’t even think about replacing him.

“But I’ve used his experience quite a bit in the past, I’ve talked to him about expectations and about cricket in general and, with everything he has done, that’s been very good for me.

“I’ve got a long way to go and I’m still young but working with people like that is helping get better every day.”

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