Freddie Flintoff – The National Superstar
Freddie Flintoff! A personality, if ever there was one!
Now a fully-fledged present on SKY and various other television channels, Andrew Flintoff has lived his life to the maximum.
He trained incredibly hard to become a professional boxer and won his only fight in 2012 against Richard Dawson.
However, it was through his cricket career that he received such fame. Undoubtedly, one of England’s greatest players of all-time. He was often England’s talisman when they were struggling, and most of English Cricket’s great moments in his era were down to him.
He was a player who could not be described by statistics – although they were pretty good.
In his prime, he was arguably the second-best all-rounder in world cricket – only behind Jacques Kallis. His impact was enormous and he won numerous games for England – with the bat, the ball and on the field.
In this article, we will be looking at his greatest contributions to English Cricket and briefly talking about his stint in the Indian Premier League.
Sit tight and enjoy the ride!
The 2005 Ashes – Freddie Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff scored 402 runs at 40.20 and at a strike rate of 74.16. He scored one century and three half-centuries.
Freddie Flintoff took 24 wickets at 27.29, including one five-wicket haul. His bowling strike rate was an excellent 48.5.
As a 6-year-old in 2005, I was inspired by the feats of Freddie Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes. In those days, cricket was free-to-air on terrestrial television.
I used to come home from school on the weekdays and watch Freddie weave his magic on England. On the weekends, I used to get up early just so that I could watch Flintoff bat or Flintoff bowl.
He inspired so many during those 2 months. The country needed it more than ever after a sorrow July. His over to Langer and Ponting will forever be remembered in Ashes Cricket. He was England’s best bowler in the series. He was England’s second-best batter in the series – behind Pietersen.
Freddie Flintoff helped England win back The Ashes after 18 years of hurt. If the 1981 Ashes was renamed “Botham’s Ashes” than the 2005 Ashes should also be renamed “Flintoff’s Ashes”.
The 2004 Champions Trophy
Flintoff scored 139 runs at 32.35 and a blistering strike rate of 113.15.
Flintoff took 9 wickets at an average of 14 and an economy of 4.06.
Andrew Flintoff the ODI cricketer was and still is heavily underrated. His ODI statistics are amazing. He scored over 3000 runs in the format at an average of 32. He also picked up 169 wickets at 24.38.
In particular, he stepped up in the 2004 Champions Trophy. He was again England’s talisman in that competition. His all-round feats helped England to reach the final – where they narrowly lost against the West Indies.
He destroyed Sri Lanka in the group stages with a century and also took two wickets for good measure. In the semi-final, he played a handy cameo against Australia – 16 of just 9 deliveries to help England reach the final.
In the final, he was England’s best bowler. He picked up 3-38 in 10 overs, but could not prevent a West Indies victory.
Andrew Flintoff featured in the 2009 Ashes but was struggling with injury throughout it. He still managed to score 200 runs at an average of 33.33 and took 8 wickets – albeit at a costly average of 52.12. He did, however, influence the series in two crucial moments.
His five-wicket haul at Lords helped England win for the first time in 75 years at that venue against Australia – an astonishing record.
He also ran Ricky Ponting out at The Oval, when Australia was cruising at 218-2 – in the final test match. His brilliant fielding – whether he was in the slips or at mid-off / mid-wicket was a sight to behold right throughout his career.
He was undoubtedly England’s talisman even when he was injured and often carried the team through his own performances.
The IPL Stint
Freddie Flintoff played only 3 IPL games. He scored 62 runs in those 3 games at an average of 31. He also picked up 2 wickets.
However, the fact that he was one of the mega-buys in the IPL Auction proved how big a superstar he was. At the time, the only other Englishman to feature in the Indian Premier League was Kevin Pietersen – another superstar.
Freddie Flintoff was purchased for a massive $1.55 million by the Chennai Super Kings. Had he stayed fit, he would have been a superb player. He would have been an outstanding T20 player because he could smash the ball out of the park, was superb in the field and could bowl four overs on most days.
As a Chennai Super Kings fan, I would have loved to see Andrew Flintoff play for us. He would have been great fun to watch.
Also, Read – The Top 5 Most Powerful IPL Batsmen
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