England have established a captaincy pecking order by naming Andrew Strauss to lead his country against Pakistan next week, in a temporary capacity only.
Strauss already knew he was holding the reins only as long as Michael Vaughan remains incapacitated by the knee problems which are threatening to rule him out of next winter's Ashes series.
But chairman of selectors David Graveney made it clear yesteday that England have decided all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will be back in charge as Vaughan's deputy, as soon as his own injury problems allow.
Graveney explained: "Andrew Flintoff will have his ankle reassessed in the next few days and we will have a clearer idea of when he will be able to return. We are fortunate to have a very capable deputy available in Andrew Strauss, and he will continue to lead the Test side in his absence."
Strauss has been at pains to stress he has the highest regard for Flintoff's leadership, pointing out: "He proved to be an inspirational captain in India."
As long as Flintoff is back this summer, he is likely to need those winning qualities against Pakistan and more significantly in the Ashes series, which begins in Brisbane in November.
Vaughan, who underwent a fourth operation on his knee on Monday, has been told to expect a four to six-month recovery period - placing his availability for the winter campaign in Australia in serious doubt.