Andrew Flintoff criticises India's preparations

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at The Oval
MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid in the slips
India's captain MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid display frustration in the slip cordon.

Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has criticised India for their "shabby" warm-up routines and poor body language.

After three heavy defeats, India require victory at The Oval to avoid a series whitewash.

But Flintoff described the stark contrast between the teams as they warmed up.

"I've not seen much of the summer, and this morning I watched the two sides warming up," he said.

"I saw India, and they looked like they'd got their kit out of the garage. They were all in different gear. England looked really professional next to them. They just looked poles apart," he told BBC Test Match Special.

Flintoff, who took 226 Test wickets and scored 3,845 runs, said he felt sorry for his former England coach Duncan Fletcher, who took over the India job in June.

"Watching the slip catching practise, you had England on one side diving around, the ball fizzing through," he added. "I used to do it with Duncan Fletcher. I bet you he's tearing his hair out.

"They were clapping everything down: the keeper was missing them, the slips were dropping them. It just looked shabby."

Flintoff, who struggled with his weight during the early part of his career, said England looked by far the fitter team, joking that some of the India players were "popping out of their shirts".

The disparity between the teams was equally evident during Thursday's action, with England's openers effortlessly reaching 75-0, batting in overcast conditions, before rain curtailed play at lunch on the first day.

The performance does not bode well for an India side that were beaten by an innings and 242 runs at Edgbaston, and have yet to reach 300 in six innings this series.