Andrew Flintoff has cleared the speculation over his role in England's captain-coach fiasco. Although both Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores - who lost their jobs as captain and coach - had his backing, Flintoff said he did not support Pietersen's move to oust Moores, and told Pietersen that.
As a senior member of the team, Flintoff's opinion was considered to be key as Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, investigated the falling out between captain and coach. "We had a sense of what was happening out in India and the one thing with Kevin [Pietersen], which I've said to him, was: 'As a captain, as a player, I'll support you'," Flintoff told the Observer. "The way I played proves that. I played for Kevin as I did for Vaughany [Michael Vaughan] or Nasser [Hussain] or whoever it may be. I didn't want him to finish. I thought he could have given himself time to grow into the role.
"But on the flip-side I couldn't support him in not having the coach there, because I had a good relationship with Peter Moores, and I was open about that with Kevin, with Mooresy and Hugh [Morris]."
Flintoff felt the players had to take responsibility for the recent reverses. "We don't want to get into the football scenario where the team gets beat and the manager gets sacked," he said. "As players we've got everything at our disposal, we've got the coaches and we've got everything we need to perform. We've got to take some responsibility. To be fair to Mooresy the one thing he's kept is his dignity. Because he's a good man. He is a good man."
In the wake of the row, media reports speculated over possible cliques in the team, but Flintoff did not see it as an issue. "Everyone's going on about cliques and this and that. I suppose there are. You get put together as a group of people. The one thing you've got in common is that you play cricket. Within that, you'll get on better with someone," he said. "That's not to the detriment of the side. That's how it is. If you're in an office or any other walk of life you get on better with some than others and that's how the England team works. When you get on the pitch we're all fighting for the same outcome. We want to win games of cricket. I really don't see it being a problem."
Flintoff backed Pietersen to bounce back strongly from the mess, as well as new captain Andrew Strauss to prove himself in the shorter formats. "He's his own man. We're very much chalk and cheese, but we get on fine. He's the brunt of the jokes sometimes, so we're going to have to tone that down. He's a good fellow. People are mentioning the one-day stuff [Strauss was named one-day captain for the West Indies despite not being part of the squad in recent times], but he's scored one-day hundreds. Knowing Straussy, he'll just adapt."