Cricket

Andrew Flintoff makes a bold prediction about England's chances in Australia

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In the build-up to England's trip down under for the Ashes this winter, the squad have been backed to be successful by none other than England hero Freddie Flintoff.

The former all-rounder has branded the current side as 'the best we've ever had' and thinks retaining the Ashes is almost a formality.

Australia are widely considered the favourites heading into the series but Flintoff is confident the tourists will be successful and told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's not a case of England winning - it's by how many."

The praise comes after recent criticism by Jonathan Agnew, who labelled the squad: 'one of the weakest squads I have ever seen'.

But by dissecting the squad, Flintoff sees enough talent and experience to cause a big upset down under. 

"It's the type of side you'd want to be involved in, from the coach and the captain down. I think England will have a good winter.

"We've got Jimmy Anderson, who is England's best ever bowler; Alastair Cook, England's best ever batter. And you throw in the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, who is fantastic - it's exciting times."

The squad's preparations have taken a severe hit in recent weeks following the arrest of vice-captain Ben Stokes and his participation in the forthcoming series appears increasingly unlikely.

Flintoff, who similarly enjoyed his fair share of controversy with England, has been regularly compared with the Three Lions' current all-rounder.

Nevertheless, the A League of Their Own star confessed he feels 'flattered' when they are brought up in the same discussion.

He continued: "He's a fantastic cricketer and it's flattering when he's compared to you. He's such an exciting talent but so too are many of the England side.

"Obviously there's a few things going on at the minute. I've only seen what everybody else has seen and it's something that's being investigated so I'm not commenting on that."

Despite the pending police investigation, latest reports suggest Stokes will be given a new central contract by the ECB later this week, even though he is not currently being considered for selection. 

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Topics:
Cricket
The Ashes
Kevin Pietersen
Joe Root
Australia cricket
England cricket

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