Who Andrew Flintoff wants to open the batting with Alastair Cook vs South Africa

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Former England captain Freddie Flintoff thinks that with Joe Root at the helm, England have a great chance of beating South Africa during the upcoming Test series this summer.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Flintoff admitted that the new captain's enthusiasm for Test cricket can only be a good thing for England.

"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 onto the field every time like it's the best day of his life and that can be infectious.

"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.

"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!

"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."

Yorkshire v Surrey - Specsavers County Championship: Division One

Joe Root has had to wait for five months to make his debut as captain after Alastair Cook resigned in February.

Whilst Flintoff believes the pressure of being England captain will not seriously affect Root, it certainly curtailed the form of Cook. The Essex opener looked shorn of confidence for much of his tenure.

Thankfully for Essex, without the pressure of captaining England on his shoulders, Cook has been in fine form in the County Championship. From his first 11 innings, the opener has hit an impressive 643 runs for the county.

Essex v Nottinghamshire - Royal London One-Day Cup Semi Final

However, the other opening batting spot in the starting XI remains up for grabs, with Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings and Mark Stoneman all in with a chance of being picked.

Flintoff is keeping loyal to his Lancashire roots, though, and thinks Hameed deserves another chance after a broken finger in India curtailed an impressive introduction to international cricket.

The Lancastrian has not reached 50 so far this term, but Flintoff believes that England should keep faith.

Lancashire v Leicestershire - Royal London One-Day Cup

He added: "His form this season hasn't been as good as it has been in the past but we've seen what he can do in the winter; we've seen the way in which he can play.

"With one eye on the future, he could be around for 15 years. I've never seen a kid practice and work as hard in my life.

"I take my boys to Old Trafford and he will be there with his dad for hours on end - and they'll lock the centre up. He just practices and practices and practices. So fingers crossed for Has."

The Ashes
Ian Bell
Joe Root
England cricket

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