Ben Stokes is a better player than me, says Andrew Flintoff
London: England's former all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has said his countrymen Ben Stokes is a more talented player than he was, adding that the later has in him to become an England great.
Stokes, 24, evoked memories of Flintoff with a spectacular allround performance against New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's in May.
But Flintoff believes Stokes is capable of surpassing his own achievements.
"I survived a lot on bravado but I think Stokes has a lot more skill. I think he could be one of England's greats," Flintoff was quoted as saying by bbc.com on Monday.
Flintoff took 24 wickets and scored 402 runs to inspire England's first Ashes series victory for 18 years in 2005.
Ten years on, England is looking to Stokes to help avenge a 0-5 Ashes whitewash in the last series against Australia, starting in Cardiff on 8 July.
"He's an impact player, a personality player. He will have quiet games, but when he does perform he will win matches. I wouldn't judge him on averages or how many runs he goes for with the ball," he said.
"Look back at the end of the series and see how many games he influences, and I think in the Ashes he could influence two or three games, the 37-year-old said.
Flintoff is upbeat about England's Ashes chances despite the fact they have won only one of five Test series since beating Australia 3-0 in 2013.
"You look at it on paper - the captain is scoring runs, you have Ian Bell with 20-odd hundreds, Joe Root's brilliant, Gary Ballance averages 50-odd, Adam Lyth has just scored a 100 and then you've got an all-rounder."
"Bowling wise, you've got Jimmy Anderson with 400 wickets, Stuart Broad with 280. Mark Wood is raw but I quite like that about him, just let him run in and bowl quick - and then you've got Stokes backing that up," he said.
"The one area which I think they'll be looking at is the spin department. Ashley Giles did such a good holding role for England (in 2005) and I think we need a spinner to do that now.
"Moeen Ali could be the man to do that but that's the only one area where they might be a bit weak. Apart from that, they're a good team," Flintoff concluded.