London: Andrew Flintoff has backed Peter Moores to be the next England cricket coach, claiming he could have worked with Kevin Pietersen despite their falling out.
Moores emerged yesterday as a surprise candidate to succeed Andy Flower, five years after his row with Pietersen saw them dumped as coach and captain respectively. Yet Flintoff believes that would not have been a problem for Lancashire coach Moores, who he says has unfinished business with England.
“Everyone forgets Peter laid the foundations for Andy Flower,” Flintoff said. “Andy reaped the rewards of what Peter did, at the academy and then with the team. I’d like to see Peter get the opportunity to see through what he started.
“I don’t think Kevin Pietersen would have been a problem for Peter. He would be big enough to have Kevin back. He likes to be challenged. I’ve had heated debates with Peter. I know how he works and he isn’t scared of ruffling feathers.”
Ashley Giles, a former England teammate of Flintoff’s and the current England one-day coach, remains the favourite and Flintoff added: “Ashley had a hospital pass in the one-day matches in Australia, because he didn’t have all the best players and he came in on the back of a 5-0 defeat. But the timing is wrong. It needs an experienced guy.
“England need shaking up a little bit, like the Australians shook it up by appointing Darren Lehmann.”
Flintoff feels that it is wrong to single out individuals and has questioned the team spirit within the England squad.
“The group doesn’t seem to be a group any more,” he said. “They’ve got one player who can take the blame and the rest of them want to go about their business and let him take the fall.
“It’s not that we couldn’t bowl them out, not that we couldn’t score runs, not that we got outplayed — it’s Kevin Pietersen’s fault.
“I’d have more respect for some of the senior players if they held their hands up, rather than letting it all get heaped on one bloke.”
With the ECB yet to fully explain its decision to axe Pietersen, Flintoff says that the South Africa-born batsman’s case had been used as a smokescreen to shield others from criticism.
“If his attitude was that bad, why did he play five Tests?” Flintoff said. “Who made the decision to drop him? Do they genuinely believe we are better off without him, or are they just fearful for their own jobs and too afraid to say no?
“I can’t imagine what Kevin could have done, or what the ECB could announce, that would allow this to make sense.”