While England's win late last night in the final ODI in St.Lucia didn't transform what has been an uneasy and largely unsuccessful winter for the team, it did at least offer a reminder of what Andrew Flintoff can do when he has the ball in his hand in a limited-over game.

Whatever the extent of his popularity in England, history will judge Flintoff as a very good cricketer who had one really great Test series. However, as a one-day bowler - especially at the 'death' - he is a truly exceptional operator.

The yorker which hit the base of Sulieman Benn's middle stump to complete his hat-trick last night was just about the perfect delivery. Much better batsmen than Benn would have been defeated by it, particularly if they were backing away towards square leg.

With his threadbare fitness record and wildly fluctuating form with the bat, it's perhaps asking too much of Flintoff to have the same type of pivotal effect on this summer's Ashes series as he had in 2005.

But, if he can keep his body together, his presence sure won't do England any harm.


Thiru Cumaran said...

Flintoff can really develop into a real class player who can help England get the Ashes if someone can drill his head into 10 kgs of cow dung and force him to say that he is a bowler who can bat a bit.

Look, even I have a good technique, but I just can't get the ball to connect properly, which often results in the scenario 'Six and Out'.

If he can admit that he's better off thinking that he's a bowler, and get himself down the order, he could be of more use as a pinch hitter later in the innings rather than someone who comes in the middle of the match and can't connect properly!

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for the comment, Tragic, and I completely agree. I think anyone who knows anything about the game now regards Flintoff as a bowling all-rounder. The only person who doesn't is Flintoff himself, and if he really believes it he's deluded.

The fact is that he's never been that good a batsman at the highest level - huge power, sure, but a very ropey technique in many ways. Cumbersome foot movement and poor shot selection have and will always find him out against really top-class bowling.

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