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September 2009
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Edward Craig: Good riddance Flintoff

September 8th, 2009 by Edward Craig in England, One-day cricket, The Ashes

England without Flintoff is a stronger side. England without Pietersen is a weaker side. And yet the crowds, the journalists – me – all seem to love Flintoff and not really love Pietersen.

Flintoff is a distraction. In every spell and every innings we expect heroics – big hitting, dangerous bowling. Towards the end of the Ashes, he tried to live up to this self-styled stereotype despite being a different player: since 2006 he’d accumulated runs, not smashed them and he’s always been a containing bowler.

Trying to be something you’re not is always flawed and doomed: Ian Bell being tough; Alastair Cook having a sense of humour; Monty Panesar trying to develop variations. You are what you are – or at least what your body and form has let you become.

So a contrived, quasi-Flintoff, living off former glories is a Dementor to a side’s form. Whereas an arrogant, self-obsessed, hungry, fit and brilliant Pietersen – now comfortable in his own dressing-room solitude and accepting in his Anglo-South African existence – is an asset.

With Graham Onions recalled in Flintoff’s absence, a straight quick bowler, not trying to be anything he’s not, is a huge bonus.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, One-day cricket, The Ashes |

18 Responses to “Edward Craig: Good riddance Flintoff”

  1.   Mick Jones says:

    This blog is a total joke. All this is is Ed Craig (whoever he is) going “oh look at me I am so controversial”.

    Flintoff was a GREAT player cruelly cut off in his prime by injury.

    He also provided just about the only two pieces of world-class cricket England played in the recent vauxhall-conferance-standard Ashes.

    The only times during the series I got a sense of greatness was duribng his 5-for and his 74.

    Give me those moments over anything this bunch of boring, mindless ‘look at me I got a 100 v West Indies’ losers can do (Cook, Bell, Anderson, Bopara)

    Ed Craig you are not a real cricket fan.

  2.   Edward Craig says:

    His 5-for at Lord’s is the most over-rated bowling performance this decade. That now famous Monday morning performance had one good moment - when he got Haddin, which effectively ended the game.

    After that he rolled some tailenders AND wouldn’t let the captain bowl anyone else because he wanted the glory.

    If Strauss hadn’t scored his world-class hundred in the first innings (a great innnings), he wouldn’t have been allowed this swan-song.

    It was a good run-out, though, a The Oval even if he shouldn’t have been on the pitch.

  3.   Alan Thompson says:

    Spot on, Mick J. Who is Craig edwards anyway - has he ever performed on ONE LEG at Lord’s to overturn seventy years of Australia winning?

    And in fairness to Flintoff, I don’t think he’s ever pretended he’s something he’s not. He’s conceded that he hasn’t achieved what he wanted to as a batsman. If a player admits he’s not a great, how does that make him contrived?

  4.   Edward Craig says:

    Look at the way he batted at The Oval ‘Alan’.

    Look at the way he celebrated wickets at Lord’s.

    All contrived.

  5.   Gumbo says:

    Freddie was a much better player than Edward Craig makes out. But to say his 5-for and his 74 were world class is total tool.

    It was strauss’s hundred at Lord’s that was world-class, followed by Anderson’s four wickets in the first innings. England had already all but won the game when Freddie took his cheap and only third five-for. His 74 at Edgbaston was nicely set up by some utterly dreadful bowling.

    Broad’s spell at The Oval was the only truly great spell in the Ashes.

  6.   Deepak Gulati says:

    I am sick to death of this ‘fashionable’ vilifaction of Flintoff.

    You are just jumping on a press band-wagon. On one leg he looked more dangerous than Anderson and this Broad nonesense annoys me. Lets see him do it a little more often before he’s the ‘real’ deal

  7.   Mick Jones says:

    ‘World-Class hundred’ - Yes of couse and Andrew Strauss didn’t take advantage of dross bowling at Lord’s did he?

    No Mitchell Johnson was really ‘testing’ him with those ones just off the cut-strip.

    Flintoff’s 74 was the best innings under pressure in that series.

  8.   Gumbo says:

    Anderson’s and Panesar’s innings at Cardiff were the best innings under pressure in that series - and not forgetting Trott at The Oval.

    Strauss took advantage of some dross bowling and went on to score a big hundred. As soon as the bowling got decent Flintoff fell at Edgbaston. He shouldn’t have played at The Oval, he could hardly bowl.

  9.   Mick Jones says:

    Hang on second here Gumbo “As soon as the bowling got decent Flintoff fell at Edgbaston”.

    He got done by a freak delivery from Hauritz than turned and spat out of nowhere. It was the only way he was gonna go, it was a chanceless knock.

  10.   Gumbo says:

    It was the only way he was going to go? If by that you mean by getting out to the first decent ball he faced, then yes you’re right.

    He shouldn’t have played at Edgbaston either. Lord’s should’ve been his last game, rather than limping around for the rest of his series and getting his lardy agent to moan that Flower and Strauss didn’t pick him at Headingley. He was starting to develop an annoying messiah complex. I just hope Broad doesn’t turn out that way.

  11.   Pat71 says:

    Edward, while the game was nearly won, and Flintoff milked his moment, his spell was described by Ian Chappell as being probably the best spell of fast bowling that he’s seen. I’ll take his views on fast bowling over yours.

  12.   Paddy Briggs says:

    I don’t like your headline Edward - “Good riddance” is not a very pleasant way to say farewell to Fred.

    Flintoff is flawed but never has his commitment on the field of play been anything less than 100%. He also brings with him a bit of chutpaz which few England cricketers have (Pietersen has it - so does Luke Wright - not many others).

    You are suggesting that Fred tried to be something that he is not. There is nobody in modern sport less likely to do this - Fred is no phoney! WYSIWYG!

  13.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Not that I often stick up for Ed, Paddy, but he wasn’t saying farewell to Fred - he was saying good riddance so I don’t think he would have seen any need to be particularly polite!

  14.   Huw Davies says:

    To say good riddance is harsh, there is hardly a rank full of cabs on the county circuit fit to replace him as a bowler, he suffered from being selected a place (or two since the emergence of Broad as a genuine no7) too high up the order.

    I do agree though that his Lords spell is incredibly overhyped, look at two of the defining spells of his career, the epic at The Oval and at Edgbaston in the 2nd innings both in 2005 where the best batsman in the best team of the last two decades could barely lay a bat on him on flat pitches. To compare his removal of Haddin (essentially starting again on 0 that morning) Hauritz and Siddle, in a virtual lost cause for the Australians, to those spells would be criminal.

  15.   Valerio says:

    I completely agree with Edward Craig. Andrew Flintoff was a fine cricketer for many years but his time has now passed. England need to move on. Additionally, Flintoff is an ego-maniac, no doubt about it, and for a fan of the game that is tiring. The way he posed for the camera’s after dismissing Phil Hughes in the first test match was a disgrace. I am sick of these players giving themselves farewell series. I think the game squared up the ledger with Flintoff anyway, he was a non-event in the decisive final test match, although of course he did run-out Ponting at a crucial point. But really, his conduct was embarrassing in this final Test. I felt the crowd sensed that his time had passed as well, as the applause for him was not as huge as I expected.

  16.   Bucko says:

    So refreshing to read some objective views by English cricket supporters. All cricket fans, Aussies like myself included, loved watching Flintoff perform on the big stage. His 5-for spell at Lords was excellent - fast and hostile. But like Ed Craig and others, I found his wicket taking celebrations embarrasing. The act of getting down on one knee and raising his arms and nodding to himself was disgraceful. It just smacked of “Look at how good I am everyone”. The man who was responsible for retaining the Ashes - Strauss - never demonstrated such arrogance.

  17.   JB says:

    Leaving aside the endless debate as to whether or not Freddie was “world class”, the fact of the matter is that his presence in the England team had become a distraction from the game in the same way that Beckham’s continued presence in the England football team in the latter years of the Sven era. In both cases the players had an “aura” provided by past heroics that their performances rarely lived up to.

  18.   Tony Bennett says:

    I agree with Edward Craig. Flintoff’s glory days were in 2004 to 05, when his performances were actually world-class. Since then they’ve been anything but. (When he’s played.) I don’t care much about Flintoff’s outrageous posing when taking a wicket - I just saw it as a bit of kidology by a player unable to conjure up the old days too often.

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