32 Monday, 6 July 2009 London Lite England ANDREW STRAUSS (captain) Age: 32 Tests: 62. Once the controversy over his appointment died away, Strauss settled nicely with five tons last winter -- and he got two in 2005. ALASTAIR COOK Age: 24 Tests: 43 Not many get seven tons by 23. Two in fact, Bradman and Tendulkar. Slowed down a bit since and needs a big Ashes. RAVI BOPARA Age: 24 Tests: 6 No, thats not a mistake. Just six Tests. He took that long to convince the selectors, now he has to convince the Aussies. KEVIN PIETERSEN Age: 28 Tests: 52 Of course he should still be captain, but forget all that. KP loves the big stage and they dont come bigger than this. PAUL COLLINGWOOD Age: 33 Tests: 48 One of the great natural sportsmen, one of the most under-rated cricketers around. LiteSport tip for Man of the Series. MATT PRIOR Age: 27 Tests 18. So many England keepers, so little time. But Matt is the best batter of the lot. He hasnt got magic gloves so he needs loadsaruns. ANDREW FLINTOFF Age: 31 Tests: 75 Unlike Michael Vaughan, he refuses to accept 2005 was his peak. Freddie is past it. Lets hope the Aussies dont notice. GRAHAM ONIONS Age: 26 Tests: 2 Just another county trundler they told us. Then Steve Harmisons Durham buddy took 10 in his first two Tests. Know your Onions. GRAEME SWANN Age: 30 Tests 7 Was he too mouthy for Duncan Fletcher? Whatever, Swanny spent too much time waiting for the call. Hes the business. STUART BROAD Age: 22 Tests: 17 Got it all. Better all-round than Freddie, harmful like Harmy, bats like KP. Struggled under pressure in World Twenty20. JAMES ANDERSON Age: 26 Tests: 37 Remember the 2003 World Cup? He was a swing bowler. Now hes quicker, nastier... and ready to give it to the Aussies. MONTY PANESAR Age: 27. Tests 38 Yes, we all love the full Monty. But with Swanny on form and Adil up-and-coming, this may be his last big stage. IAN BELL Age: 27 Tests: 46 Strange to think he was one of the heroes in 2005. Things have slipped a bit since but its great to have him in reserve. RYAN SIDEBOTTOM (standby) Age: 31 Tests: 21 Proved against India at Lords hes still got it at the top level. The hairy one has 77 wickets and if Onions slips up... ADIL RASHID (standby) Age: 21 Tests: 0 Showed flashes of his ripping wrist during the World Twenty20, and he can bat a bit. Our future King of Spin, but not ready yet. STEVE HARMISON (standby) Age: 30 Tests: 61 Cruelly overlooked for the final 13-man squad after scaring the Aussies last week, he sprays it but hes very, very dangerous. LITESPORT BY NEAL COLLINS Ive gone back to see ball, hit ball. It feels right WITH just two days before the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, Freddie Flintoff has uttered the words every England fan wants to hear, roaring: Batting feels natural again. The injury-plagued England all-rounder racked up 91 off just 41 balls for Lancashire in the Twenty20 Cup last month, an innings featuring six sixes which may herald the start of an Aussie-crushing summer run-spree. One of the heroes of the 2005 Ashes-win- ningteam,Flintoff,31,said:Ivehadadicky ankle and a dicky knee, but thats behind me now, so I can concentrate on playing cricket insteadof beingaprofessionalrehabber.But I need a zip in the back of my ankle! Im excited. Just to be around the cricket again, bowling, feeling pain-free and getting a few runs too. For the first time in a long time, batting feels natural again, the bat feels like a part of me, not a foreign body. Insteadof tryingtoplayperfectshots,Ive gone back to see the ball, hit the ball. And it feels so natural again. I do feel there is something special round the corner. Flintoff shrugs off last weeks storm over missing a bus during the teams pre-Ashes tour of the First World War battlefields, say- ing: I am determined to try to make what happened in Belgium a distant memory. I hope we can all move on and that this will not be something that affects our Ashes build-up, but its something for which I have held up my hand and said sorry. People have said what I did showed a lack of respect for my team-mates and even com- mitment.Mycommitmenttotheteamisfull. But one of the main reasons why I was so cross with myself was because of why we were there. The trip to the Menin Gate, hearing the Last Post played, visiting the graves; it was all very moving and humbling. Flintoff looks and sounds like a new man going in to a series which could revive his career -- or end it. He says: With very few exceptions, any sportsman who says he doesnt have a fear of failure is a liar. I care if I dont perform because I feel Im letting otherpeopledown.Iveneverbeenverygood at hiding my emotions. Looking back on what happened in the first Test four years ago, I let myself get sucked in. I became insular, introverted. When we bowled and I got the wicket of Adam Gil- christ,somethingweirdhappenedinsideme. I looked at the photos and I just didnt recog- nise myself. I saw this look of pure aggres- siononmyface,withmyeyespopping.Itwas almost like I was possessed. It was scary. Then when I was waiting to bat I just sat in my chair and waited in silence. Thats not me, normally Im buzzing about. It wasnt until later I realised I had put so much pres- sure on myself that I hadnt a hope of per- forming naturally and at my best. I sorted it out and from the second Test onwards, things improved. Im absolutely pumped up for the series. Its what Ive spent two years trying to get fit for. But I certainly dont intend to put myself under that kind of pressure again. While I dont think the feelings we had in 2005couldbereplicated,if Iplayamajorpart in us winning this time, I would be even prouder. They have no Warne or McGrath or Hayden, Langer or Gilchrist. But Australia are still Australia and the Ashes are still the Ashes. Its what I kept going for. Freddies bat to Freddie ready: Flintoff feels he is back to his natural best for the Ashes which start in Cardiff on Wednesday index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html