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John Stern: Reasons to love Freddie no. 712

July 9th, 2008 by John Stern in County cricket, England, South Africa in England, Twenty20

Middlesex’s Dawid Malan has just flayed Flintoff’s Lancashire team-mates (though not Flintoff himself) round The Oval in a Twenty20 quarter-final changing century.

Flintoff returns to dismiss Malan and as the young left-hander started the
long walk of acclamataion towards the pavilion, Fred turned and walked after
Malan, tapped him on the shoulder and shook him heartily and earnestly by
the hand.

This is not a sign of weakness, in fact the exact opposite. Flintoff
encompasses all the best elements of sportsmanship - ­ his effort is never
less than whole-hearted yet, even in the heat of combat, he can keep things
in perspective. He is generous in victory and defeat.

When he batted, he could have won the game for Lancashire. He had made 53
before hitting a Steve Finn full toss straight down deep square leg’s
throat. He looked gutted, inconsolable. But he wasn’t angry or petulant. He
just sat, looking sad on the bench. He knew he could have won it and he knew
that with his dismissal went Lancashire’s chances. But at the end, he was
first in the queue of Lancashire players to shake the hands of the
triumphant Middlesex players.

I’m a Middlesex fan and I’m chuffed for the men in pink but Flintoff was
mighty and magnificent last night. Good on yer Fred. Can’t wait to see you
back in the Test side.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, England, South Africa in England, Twenty20 |

4 Responses to “John Stern: Reasons to love Freddie no. 712”

  1.   Gumbo says:

    One of Duncan Fletcher’s criticisms of Freddie in his autobiography was that he was far too chummy with the Australians in the 2006/07 Ashes. Perhaps he should leave shaking hands until after the match, not while still engaged in a contest.

  2.   sahilvaughan says:

    There are all sorts of reasons why England miss Freddie, undoubtedly his relentless sportsmanship is one. England, especially last summer became an ugly team, who’s words were far more fiery than their cricket. Fred is the opposite and Fletcher was wrong to think it ever took his edge off a contest.

  3.   Gary Naylor says:

    Flintoff was not alone. Cork, not a man one thinks of as too friendly with the opposition, shook Malan’s hand on his reaching the ton and Law and at least one other senior pro jogged over to shake the young man’s hand on his walk back.

    Malan’s innings, in conception, execution and audacity was Gilchristian - praise goes no higher.

  4.   Gumbo says:

    Gary - you could say Malan’s innings was Bradmanesque. That would be higher praise!

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