KP: Captaincy hurt Flintoff’s form

As the Ashes investigations and post-mortems get into full swing, Kevin Pietersen admits Andrew Flintoff’s acceptance of the captaincy may have deeply affected his form during the Ashes.

“It’s a real hard trip. The Australians target the captain; they think that if you break the captain, you break the team,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Times.

“I thought it would be different because Fred is such a good player and they respect Fred because of how good he is, but they got hold of him and I think it probably played a big part in his series.

“They do fear him as a bowler and they do fear him as a batter and he showed glimpses of it (his best form). I just wonder whether the burden of captaincy hindered his performances.

“He didn’t show it, he wasn’t different, but there were little things that maybe hindered his performance.

“I’m a free-flowing player; I don’t have to worry about much, just scoring runs.

“But when you’re standing at the back of your mark and you’ve got to bowl at 90mph and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I should have my first slip a bit wider’, it hinders your thought patterns, and it’s a tough job, especially if you have Australia on your back.”

Flintoff was not able to carry over his magnificent 2005 Ashes form where he averaged 40 with the bat and 27 with the ball.

In the 2006/07 Ashes series his batting average fell to 28 and his bowling average blew out to 44, as Australia regained the Ashes in a series whitewash, something that had not occurred for over 80 years.

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