Monday, July 20, 2009

Freddie writes his own scripts !

Never mind the smart analyses. Never mind the psychobabble. Never mind the medical theories and the insider stories. Freddie writes his own scripts and the Flintoff clan, massed in numbers throughout the Lord’s Test, seemed not surprised at the heroics. And nor really were the crowd for whom he is way beyond folk hero status. The timing of his announcement about this being his last Test series just before the second Test match seemed a bit crass and a diversion from the real business at hand. I wasn’t the only commentator to think that perhaps Fred might have waited until the end of the Ashes. But little did we all know that in the honest and straightforward world of Andrew Flintoff once he has made up his mind about something he wants to tell us all about it. And little did we also know that far from being a distraction this would be the motivator that drove Fred on – and which was one of the key factors in England’s splendid Test win.

Fred’s 5 wicket haul finally shut the door on a tenuous Aussie fightback – and it got his name on the bowling honours board at Lord’s for the first time as well. And the only time that I saw Ricky Ponting smile today was when he went over to Freddie and shook him warmly by the hand after the presentation ceremony. Andre Flintoff is not the greatest batsman of his era nor the finest bowler. But his happy knack of playing the vital innings or taking the vital wicket, combined with his unaffected charm and his lack of pretension have made him, if fit, the first name on the teamsheet through most of his career. We have three more opportunities, we must hope, to see Fred in England’s Test match colours – don’t bet against him playing a pivotal role for the rest of the summer aching and sore though he may be for much of the time. Nobody puts bums on seats like Andrew Flintoff – and no-one is more deserving of our thanks both for his achievements and for his unique and utterly beguiling style.

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