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Exclusive – Flintoff: ‘Ponting’s in dreamland’

Andrew Flintoff has told talkSPORT Ricky Ponting is in “dreamland” if he thinks Australia will win the Ashes 5-0 this winter.

The Aussie skipper made his claims in an interview last week, but Freddie thinks his old foe is kidding himself.

He told Drive Time: “I’ve heard Ponting stirring it and saying it will be 5-0, but he’s in dreamland.

“The way the sides are shaping up, we’ve got the stronger one. The strength in both sides is the batting and the hard bit is going to be taking 20 wickets.

“I’d like to see England play an extra bowler because you have to work hard for your wickets in Australia,”

Pakistan captain Salman Butt said earlier this week that England’s bowling attack would struggle Down Under, but Flintoff has backed them to perform.

He added: “If you look at our side, we’ve got the third and fourth best bowlers in the world in Swann and Anderson. We’re perhaps a bit over reliant on them, but Jimmy’s a completely different bowler compared to the last Ashes series.

“He’s grown up as a lad and as a cricketer. Some of the tantrums have stopped and he’s far more skilful now.

“Everyone talks about his swing bowling but there’s more to him now. He doesn’t go for the runs he used to and, when we talk about reverse swing, he’s the best England have got.

“I expect him to go out there, perform well and take wickets – along with Swanny.”

And Flintoff thinks England should find a place for Ryan Sidebottom, who’s not played Test cricket since January.

“I’d like to see Sidebottom come in,” added Flintoff. “When it’s not swinging he’s got that natural angle. And along with their left armers, he’ll dig up the pitch for Swanny later on.”


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