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Flintoff the skipper passes Boycott test

Written by: Staff

London, Mar 5 (UNI) Irrespective of the outcome of England's first Test against India, stand-in skipper Andrew Flintoff got thumbs up from former captain Geoffrey Boycott who believes the new skipper has taken in the responsibility in his stride.

Writing in ''Daily Telegraph'', Boycott said, ''Whatever happens in this match, England's first-innings performance has been a credit to the coach and the stand-in captain, Andrew Flintoff.'' ''The team have shown real guts and come out full of fight, despite all the troubles of the past week,'' he said.

''Flintoff has taken the captaincy in his stride. He has been England's most prominent player over the last two years, the focal point of the team and an icon to the public. In that time,he has never let anyone down, no matter what he has been asked to do, and captaincy is no different.'' ''Perhaps to do it every day, and cope with all the extra stuff off the field, might be difficult. But just to be a stand-in every now and again, that's no problem,'' he opined.

Boycott praised Matthew Hoggard, who grabbed six wickets in the first innings, for probing the batsmen through the corridor of uncertainty, three or four inches outside off-stump.

''He was just shaping it a little with reverse-swing, not making it do that much, but then you don't need to when you're starting it out in exactly the right place,'' he said.

Describing Monty Panesar as ''the young kid in his first Test'', Boycott said though the pitch was a dead one in Nagpur, ''Panesar bowled a ball in a million to get rid of Mohammad Kaif.'' UNI XC AY GC1233

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