No panic from Freddie

Former all-rounder calls for Panesar and Onions to come in

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 26/01/12 11:51am

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Andrew Flintoff says England looked a little rusty in their first Test defeat against Pakistan, and would like to see Graham Onions and Monty Panesar brought into the team.

The former England all-rounder insists there is no reason to panic despite the manner of England's first Test defeat in Dubai, and believes they can turn things around in Abu Dhabi.

The wicket will not help their cause and it will be another slow one, but Flintoff insisted there was no reason to believe the world's number one Test team had suddenly lost all their ability.

"They've not played Test cricket for a while, the conditions are pretty different to what they're used to, and we've always been slow starters," Flintoff told Sky Sports News.

"Pakistan played better than probably anybody thought, and England looked a little bit rusty.

"The hard thing now is trying to get back into the series because the next one's in Abu Dhabi, it'll be another low, slow wicket which doesn't make for entertaining cricket. So it's going to be tough but I think we can salvage something from it.


"Everyone's jumping to the panic buttons already, saying we're not very good, but it's only a matter of months ago we were beating everyone so I wouldn't worry too much about it."

Despite the batsmen being the main culprits in the first Test, there looks like being changes to the bowling unit for Abu Dhabi, and Flintoff would like to see a couple of bowlers introduced to the attack.

"It's often the case, batters run the team! They're deemed the ones who have the brains so the bowlers get changed all the time.

"I'd love to see Monty in the side. The other guy I'd like to see play is Graham Onions, I think on those wickets he's slightly smaller, he's skiddy, he attacks the stumps and he can reverse it, so I'd be tempted to bring Onions in for Tremlett and see how he goes."

Although the series is being played in the United Arab Emirates, conditions are similar to those back in Pakistan and Flintoff says winning on the sub-continent is the final point England have to prove.

"It's a bit tricky, I was terrible myself on the sub-continent, I remember going to India and scored 25 in three Test matches!

"We'll be fine, it's probably the last stage of England's development as a team is winning out in the sub-continent and there's no better winter this time to show it."

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