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Andrew Flintoff

06 September, 2006

In the summer of 2005, Andrew Flintoff established himself as England's greatest allround cricketer since the days of Ian Botham, producing a succession of wholehearted and inspirational performances to reap 402 runs and 24 wickets in five Tests, and carr
 

Full name : Andrew Flintoff

Born : December 6, 1977, Preston, Lancashire

Major teams : England, ICC World XI, Lancashire

Batting style : Right-hand bat

Bowling style : Right-arm fast

Height : 6.04 ft

Profile : y his team to glory in arguably the greatest Ashes series of all time.

Andrew FlintoffDecember 6, 1977, Preston, Lancashire Right-hand batRight-arm fast6.04 ft y his team to glory in arguably the greatest Ashes series of all time.

It was a performance that reverberated around the globe, and propelled Flintoff to the sort of superstar status that his many admirers had always believed was within his grasp, but had often despaired of him ever achieving. Big, northern and mightily proud of it, he hits the ball harder than any English cricketer since Botham, and uses his colossal 6'4" frame to generate speeds in excess of 90mph which, allied to his metronomic accuracy and burgeoning mastery of reverse-swing, make him one of the most intimidating bowlers in the game. For a time Freddie was destructive and self-destructive in equal measure - his precocious skills and size led to a Test debut at the age of 20, but two years later he was struggling with his weight and his motivation, barely able to bowl because of persistent back problems, and barely worth a place in the Lancashire seconds.

In 2001, he was given an ultimatum by his management team, and requested to be sent to Rod Marsh's ECB Academy. It gave him the motivation he needed, and when England SOSed for him during that winter's India tour, he was a reformed character. Despite being found out by India's spinners, he picked up a maiden Test century against New Zealand and was an integral factor in a successful home summer in 2002. Unfortunately, it was all too exciting for the England management. By the time they flew out to Australia in October, Flintoff had been bowled into the ground, and could barely walk after a hernia operation. But he returned to action in time for the World Cup, where he was the most economical bowler in the tournament, and come the 2003 season, he was ready to take centre stage. He came of age in the Test series against South Africa, thumping a therapeutic 95 in England's remarkable comeback at The Oval to go with a defiant century at Lord's, and produced a starring role in England's series win in the Caribbean, where he learned at last to slip the handbrake and become a genuine attacking option with the ball.

After helping England to a 2-1 series win in South Africa, he flew home early for an operation on his troublesome left ankle, forwent his honeymoon to speed his recuperation, then returned fitter and better than ever. He single-handedly inspired England to a two-run victory over Australia at Edgbaston, in one of the greatest Tests of all time, followed up with a maiden Ashes hundred at Trent Bridge, sealed the series with a marathon five-wicket haul at The Oval, and embarked on a 17-hour bender culminating in an open-top bus parade through the streets of London. By now, he was a global superstar to bracket alongside Sachin Tendulkar or Shane Warne, but arguably his finest hour of all was the manner in which he stepped into the breach as England's captain, on an injury-plagued tour of India the following spring. Leading from the front magnificently, he grabbed 11 wickets and scored five fifties in six innings, as England defied the odds to draw the series 1-1. Andrew Miller March 2006

 


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