Category Archives: Andrew Flintoff

Tino Best And Freddie Flintoff Tweet The Sledge

Recall Freddie Flintoff’s infamous ‘mind the windows, Tino’ sledge? See:

Flintoff reminded Tino of the moment on Twitter, to which Tino replied:

You’re Legend Mate ….Btw I’m Writing A Book it’s Called “Mind The Windows”

Ah, Twitter love. A good sledge never dies.

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Potential Meteorite Lands Near Cricket Pitch

In another episode of Nature’s Backlash Against Cricket (see, for e.g, the swarm of bees that attacked a Sri Lanka cricket pitch), a strange black rock fell from the sky onto an English pitch:

The rock, a few inches long and believed to be up to 4.5 billion years old, broke in two when it hit the ground in front of them close to the pitch. […]

Mr Marszel, an IT consultant, said: “We were sitting at the boundary edge when all of a sudden, out of a blue sky, we saw this small dark object hurtling towards us.

Now, it may turn out to be your run-of-the-mill rock, and not one with space origins. Or it may be the ‘bullet’ Andrew Flintoff thought he was shot with while touring in India. Pitches are made to be invaded.

Shake Hands First, Harbhajan

I agree with Samir Chopra’s take on Harbhajan’s needlessly exaggerated celebrations after taking Morkel’s wicket. Watching the highlights, I got the feeling Sunil Gavaskar did as well — he kept urging the Indians (and, by extension, us) to “spare a thought” for Hashim Amla, the real hero of the day.

The cameras didn’t catch any handshakes with him specifically. That’s sad, because we remember 2005 Edgbaston as much for the game’s drama as for Andrew Flintoff comforting a distraught Kasprowicz Lee. And, just in case you don’t, here it is:

Best Anti-Flintoff Post Of The Month

From Professor Chaos of We’ll Have a Bowl:

10927 runs at 51.06? 98 wickets at 37? That’s when you can start raising your arms like you just parted the Red Sea you fucking douche.

To be fair, Flintoff decidedly said he did not belong to the “greats” at his retirement conference. Still, that part-the-sea thing started to annoy even me, and I’ve had a soft spot for the big man for too long now.

Then again, for whatever reason, Flintoff enjoyed a visceral relationship with the crowds, both feeding off each other and, somehow, helping the team as a whole to rise as well. Don’t mean to smear God or anything, but given where England were in 2006, or even at Sabina Park, or, hell, even at the Fourth Test — well, parting the Red Sea doesn’t sound like much compared to their Ashes victory.

Flintoff Subtly Disses Pietersen

Nothing more than an unnecessary attempt on my part to stir trouble, but this caught my eye. Via The Guardian:

“One comforting thing is, having seen yesterday and the past five Test matches, is that I’ll disappear and the England side will be in good hands,” he said. “The likes of [Jonathan] Trott [have] come in and everybody’s forgetting about KP. Our best player has not played the bulk of this Test series. So the future of the side is in good hands.”

KP who? My former captain? Can’t be.

The Ethics Of Booing Ponting

There’s been a lot of talk criticizing English crowds for consistently booing Australian captain Ricky Ponting through the tour (and even at that holiest of sacred grounds, Lord’s). I’m not sure I understand that. I’m a huge fan of players respecting the “spirit” motif behind the game, but I don’t think that should apply to cricket audiences as well.

Not that I condone various audience offenses through the years (ahem, Indian crowds throwing bottles and possibly shooting Andrew Flintoff, ahem ahem), but there are degrees that are acceptable here. Isn’t Indian cricket more exciting precisely because the crowds are so partisan, wildly cheering any boundary only to crushingly fall silent when a wicket falls?

Ah, yes, you may say, but supporting and booing are two separate things. OK. But I think there’s fair enough room for a Ponting Exception. Here’s a man who has indulged the worst instincts on the field, where behavior actually counts for something, frowning crankily when umpires ruled against him or swearing at the English dressing room after being run-out in 2005. He’s also led a team that excels at “mental disintegration,” insisting that sledging and jibes are an integral part of cricket.

Fine then. If that’s the case — if you want to broaden up the game beyond just bat and ball — then a crowd (already facing more lax rules about sportsmanship, since it isn’t on the field) should get behind their team. So when Ponting made a delightful 74 in the Headingley Test, the audience rightly let him know exactly how they felt about it when he was dismissed (though, to be fair, certain sectors also applauded him loudly).

Yes, the man played brilliantly, and it’s always heartwarming to see a home crowd give an opposition player a nice send-off, but it’s just as much fun to see it telling a particularly despised captain to shove off.

Oh, Flintoff.

Forget what I wrote. Who needs 2009 when you can have another 2005? Then again, there are differences between that Flintoff and this one: that Flintoff was near his apogee, finally hitting his stride after a mediocre start to his career. This Flintoff is near his end, after a gradual fall. That makes him more poignant and almost statesmanlike; he’s not drunken Big Freddie, but a great and fallible man asking for the crowd’s heart one last time. Give it to him.

England Should Try For Ashes 2009, Not 2005

Tim De Lisle has an excellent Cricinfo column on England’s woeful selection strategy. He argues the team has arrived at its woeful current position — with only Kevin Pietersen as an attacking batsman, and no one as an attacking bowler — because the country’s selection committee prefers conservative choices to risks:

When you don’t have a born No. 3, a Ponting or a Dravid, the classic plan B is to pick a third opener, a David Boon or a Mark Butcher. England don’t have a third opener in sight. Why? Because they have picked Cook so often. England’s five specialist batsmen have the same problem as their five bowlers: most of them can’t take a match by the scruff of the neck.

Kevin Pietersen can, obviously, when not going through with a crazy shot like a bore in the bar who insists on finishing his point. Ravi Bopara has the personality, but it would be asking a lot for him to do it against Australia at this stage (when Ponting was his age, he was down at No. 6). Strauss, Cook and Collingwood – heroic though he was yesterday – strike fear into nobody. Like Flintoff, Broad and Panesar, they shouldn’t all be in the same team. If England beat Australia with this line-up, they will be defying gravity.

In a way, then, Flintoff’s latest injury could possibly change the side’s mental framework for the better. Sure, they may draft Harmison, which wouldn’t be a bad choice, but they could also go for broke and complete the team’s renovation, employing Graham Onions. Regardless, with no Flintoff, they’ll know for sure they aren’t playing 2005 anymore.

England Bury Adelaide Ashes

Not conclusively, and it wasn’t a charming funeral at all, but it looks like England — and Paul Collingwood, in particular — have finally put aside their dramatic Adelaide loss in 2006 by sealing the Cardiff draw.

Sure, it wasn’t convincing, but these odds were still worse than in that Test match: here, they had a three-figure deficit to overcome (at Adelaide, they were ahead by roughly 40 runs); there, they had nine wickets in hand on the last day, here they had only eight; there, they had to face down Warne, here only Nathan Hauritz (a tough challenge, no doubt, but not as bad).

This time, however, there was no dramatic batting collapse or rank stupidity. In fact, far from the timidity we saw from England in the Adelaide Test, at least here we saw some backbone. I’m not a fan of silly shoulder barges, but I did like Andrew Flintoff’s waiting a bit to check whether Ricky Ponting had caught him legally (Ponting’s been quick to jump to a claim before, as we know) or Graeme Swann taking hit after hit from Peter Siddle.

And, of course, I love the theme of the fourth innings “great escape,” wherein thousands of people gather and cheer for a non-result. So many of cricket’s dectractors say they can’t understand a game where 22 men play against each other for five days and still not produce a winning side. Strange, because that’s why I like it so much.

Wimbledon, Cricket and Reaction Time

Was watching the great semi-final between Andy Murray and Andy Roddick today. At one point, the commentary put up a graphic that showed why Roddick’s serve is so powerful: opponents essentially have only half a second reaction time. Coincidentally, commentators explained, that’s also the same amount of time Ricky Ponting will have against a ball from Andrew Flintoff (0.56 seconds).

Ah, got to love cross-sport promotion. I know England 2009 is nothing like England 2005, but I can’t help feeling this is a great time to be a British sports fan. You’ve had a great Wimbledon (Murray’s loss notwitstanding) and an incredibly hot, dry summer — perfect for some swing. Make this one to remember, Strauss.