Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff believes England have the best team in world cricket and tips the hosts to beat the Proteas in the Test series.
Flintoff believes Joe Root won’t be overawed by the prospect of beating the Proteas for the first time since 1998. In his first series since being appointed Alastair Cook’s successor, Flintoff backs Root to lead from the front.
‘I’m not sure Joe is going to be affected, to be honest. Since he started playing international cricket he’s taken everything in his stride – he walks out on to the field every time like it’s the best day of his life and that can be infectious,’ Flintoff told Sky Sports’ website.
Flintoff also lauded the current England team as the best in cricket at the moment.
‘Joe will want to put his own stamp on the team, but that will come in time; the team will evolve. But what a time to captain England – they’ve got probably the best team in the world,’ he added.
Root will be out to end a curse that has seen captains retire during or after the last three Test series where the English have hosted South Africa. Nasser Hussain (2003), Michael Vaughan (2008) and Andrew Strauss (2012) were all victims.
Despite this, Flintoff says the aggressive brand of cricket England have played under Australian Trevor Bayliss bodes well for the Test series.
‘He’s obviously a fine player, he’s got the team behind him and as captain that’s all you need, so he’ll be fine. The one thing England have been over the last few years is aggressive – they go out there and take it to the opposition,’ Flintoff said.
The strength of the England side, which boasts the likes of Root, Ben Stokes and Cook, will make light work of the tourists, in Flintoff’s opinion.
‘I just look at the England side – and this is not a slur on South Africa as they have got some quality in there as well – and I just don’t see how things can go wrong,’ he concluded.
The first Test begins on 6 July at Lord’s.