Andrew Flintoff has said that Paul Collingwood should be axed from the England national team. Middle-order batsman Collingwood, 34, has struggled while England have retained the Ashes in Australia and heads into the series finale in Sydney with just 70 runs at an average of 14 from the four previous Tests.

The team’s best fielder and captain of the side that gave England its first major tournament victory after they beat Australia in last year’s World Twenty20 final in Barbados, Collingwood’s Test career has been punctuated by several troughs although he still averages over 40.

“I know people bang on about not changing a winning side but if England want to become the best side in the world they have got to be ruthless,” Flintoff, who retired from all cricket last year because of injury, wrote in his column in the News of the World tabloid here on Sunday.