Andrew Flintoff: A True Allrounder
Andrew Flintoff was superhuman at his best and downright tragic to watch when injury struck. Here’s to one of the modern greats.
Wherever you call home, whomever you decide to follow, there is nothing but an air of respect and awe for when Andrew Flintoff’s name is mentioned. He’s probably destroyed your team at one stage or another.
There could be a multitude of Flintoff clips, pictures and highlights to put in this post, all of which would be justified to enter into this record of his career, but I’ll keep it just to a few of my favourites.
The gentleman and jovial character off the pitch became a mountain of testosterone fuelled devastation. The immense dichotomy that occurred at Edgbaston in 2005 is the best example of the kind of man he embodies. In short time, the angry and fired up bowler charging in at the Australian tailenders turned into a consoling and magnanimous victor, placing his hand on Brett Lee’s shoulder to comfort. Would the tables be the other way around if Kasprowicz didn’t get out and managed to score those 3 runs? We’ll never know, frankly the moment loses its lustre when you nitpick at it in that sense. What you take from it is the man-mountain who managed to place a vanquished foe’s feelings before the immediate joy of winning an Ashes Test on home soil.
To follow that up later in the same series with a passage of bowling at The Oval which was diabolical. 5 for 78, economy rate of 2.29 per over with 10 maidens. Who bowls spells like that anymore? Not only that but he made a defensive 72 in a 143 run stand with Andrew Strauss to keep England in the match. It stands out as one of the first great examples I’ve seen of an allrounder excelling in my limited cricket viewing history.
This immense spirit and raw power was on display again during the 2009 Ashes, where the beast re-emerged to quash Australian hopes of retaining the urn. Any right Australia placed on taking the Ashes back down under were thoroughly questioned by a rampaging 5-92 from Fred.
Then there’s the whalloping batsman, who cleared the fence and cut through the field with ease, and the impressive fielder that changed matches in an instant. 167 against the West Indies being his best Test score and example after example of the impact he’d make in the field. He was impressive all around, but the intimidation and mindgames he would exert on the opposition was textbook quality.
He was the master sledger of the English lineup. No one could throw down insults the way he did, whilst retaining what seemed to be an over all innocence about his involvement. Not afraid of anyone either was old Fred and made his presence felt whenever it seemed someone stepped out of line.
I don’t list any of his One-Day or Twenty20 accomplishments for the simple fact that they aren’t anywhere near as brilliant as what he did in the whites. Not to diminish those efforts, but he was at his best facing Australia gunning for the Ashes. Even in the disastrous 2006/2007 Ashes campaign in Australia, which he was forced to steer by himself, he was out there trying for his country at their lowest point. Not many other people on that tour can claim the same level of effort.
The worst of Flintoff were the constant injuries. A career definitely cut short by 5 years and 50 tests or more due to a string of niggles and strains. Even without those extra tests, it isn’t a blight against him, but it is a sore point for England fans to have their champion sidelined constantly. He would’ve been one of the first supreme gods of Twenty20 had his body held together I can guarantee that much.
So we salute to the end of a fine career. Well done Andrew, you are definitely a True Allrounder.
79 Tests, 141 ODIs, 7 T20Is
3845 Test runs at 31.77, career best score of 167
226 Test wickets at 32.78, career best figures of 5/58
3394 ODI runs, career best score of 123
169 ODI wickets, career best figures of 5/19
Editor of the True Allrounder