February 2009
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Edward Craig: Problems looming for England

February 17th, 2009 by Edward Craig in England

Flintoff and Strauss. That’s where the next England trouble lies. In an interview in The Observer post-Pietersen-Moores, Flintoff said of Strauss: “We’re chalk and cheese but we get on fine. He’s the brunt of the jokes sometimes, so we’re going to have to tone that down.”

This pranged at the time – a relationship between talisman and captain that explicitly lacks respect.

At the end of yesterday’s play, as Flintoff roared in during those final few overs to an 8-1 off-side field, Chris Gayle played and missed. Strauss went over to his bowler, asked him to go round the wicket with a short leg in place. Flintoff didn’t like this and reluctantly had a go. Short, wide – four.

A stroppy Flintoff immediately reverted to over the wicket and moved the short leg to fourth slip. It took a few minutes to do this and much waving of arms. Strauss remained where he was at first slip, impassive.

The field reverted to 8-1 off side, Flintoff bowled too straight, Gayle jabbed the ball towards a vacant square leg and stole a single. Pressure off. Flintoff: pissed off.

This is a seed of discontent created by Flintoff’s attitude to Strauss’ cricketing ability. Without careful management, it will grow into something destructive – and England are without a coach.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Edward Craig: Problems looming for England”

  1.   Mick Jone says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read such a spurious, “I am struggling here”, made up load of nonesense.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that Strauss and Flintoff don’t get on at all. That interview quote was Freddie being Freddie and that is just dressing-rooms. I remember when Nasser got the England captaincy in 99, Butcher (in the Cricketer mag) said ‘damn, we’ve been winding Nasser up for years, that’ll have to stop now’

    As for that bowling incident, Flintoff has been in a funk all tour and it because of journalists like you making stuff up about him stabbing KP in the back and becuase he’s got a niggle and because he’s getting no runs, that’s all.

    FLintoff and Flethcer bust up
    Vaughany busts up with Flintoff
    Flintoff stabs KP

    and now ‘Flintoff doesn’t get on with Strauss.

    i am sorry, how can such a down to earth, nice, solid lad be so destructive. Simple, he isn’t, you’ve made it up, just like the press every other time.

  2.   Edward Craig says:

    There seems to be a common denominator with all those stories you list - Flintoff. Maybe he is the problem.

    That aside, my point is a cricketing one - i don’t believe Flintoff respects Strauss as a leader. I am sure he likes him as a bloke or mate.

    Why wasn’t Strauss given the Ashes captaincy in 2006? Because of Flintoff. It would be interesting to know Fletcher’s real reasons why.

  3.   Gumbo says:

    Do you know Flintoff or are you just ‘making up’ that he’s down to earth, solid and nice?

    His behaviour was childish, to say the least, and undermining.

  4.   BGC says:

    The thing is - is Flintoff really as good as people say? In one day cricket, yes. In test cricket - no way.

    I think we have now realized that the mantra ‘England are a better team when Flintoff is playing’ is just hot air.

    The commentators are just beginning to notice that despite four years of Flintoff being touted as a great strike bowler, feared by the opposition - he just doesn’t take many wickets. Except in pace, Flintoff is more of a Shackleton stock bowler than a Tyson blaster.

    And Flintoff’s batting is either big hitting but gets out immediately; or rather dull nudging and nurdling. A good number 8 (maybe 7), in other words; but _much_ inferior to Stuart Broad already.

    I’d like to see Prior at 6, Broad at 7 (England’s Sean Pollock) and Flintoff at 8.

  5.   BGC says:

    Correction - Flintoff as a bowler is like Alan Mullally - only slightly worse.

    Flintoff takes 2.9 wickets per match at 32; while Mullally too 3.2 wickets per test at 31.

    Mullally (a left arm fast medium of about the same pace as Flintoff) was regarded as Mr ‘waste the new ball’ for his habit of slanting deliveries across the right hander at an un-reachable distance.

    Yet Mullally took more wickets per match than Flintoff, slightly more cheaply.

    When England begin to regard Flintoff in tests as Mullally who can bat a bit and field well, they might use his talents properly.

  6.   Mick Jone says:

    Yes I do know Fred personally. Me him and Beefy go on the beers all the time.

  7.   The Village Cricketer says:

    Didn’t someone once suggest (I think it may have been in Atherton’s autobiography) that team spirit is an illusion created by winning. Suspect that with England going through a diabolical trot and Flintoff struggling with an injury, he’d have to be some kind of Superman to be a smiley, happy, pally sort of bloke. Look at the Aussies, they lose a couple of matches and have dressing room brawls. Win a few games and everyone will seemingly get on like a house on fire.

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