Samir Chopra July 23, 2009

Freddie Flintoff and the adjective 'great'

To call Flintoff a 'great' Test cricketer is to admit him to an exclusive club whose membership has taken far more work, dedication, skill and longevity on the part of its members than Freddie has been able to show.
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It has been a long time since I've felt genuine affection for an English cricketer. More precisely, since David Gower and Ian Botham packed up their kitbags and left. Freddie Flintoff stepped into the breach, and despite my initial viewing of him as a drunken soccer oaf, he managed to impress me with his ability to ratchet up the atmosphere in a Test match with his justifiably famous spells, to be combative with batsmen while not descending into puerile abusiveness, to hit the ball hard and long, and with all those other ineffable qualities that make disbelievers into Freddie fans. Flintoff evokes feelings in me that remind me of my childhood following of cricket.

But in all of this, I have never considered Flintoff a 'great' cricketer just like I never considered many other darlings of mine (like Kim Hughes for instance) to be greats. And it dismays me to see that term thrown about so freely in this Ashes summer as the English media gear up, almost hopefully, for a final orgy of Freddie-anointing. Good yes, talented yes, mercurial yes, brilliant to watch yes. But great? No.

If one is to believe the emanations of the English press after the Lord's Test, it is possible for a bowler to be called great despite possessing the mediocre statistics that Flintoff does (he has, I might like to remind readers, not even taken three wickets per test over his career), for a player to be called a great Ashes performer despite leading his side to a 0-5 whitewash at the hands of the Great Enemy (and visibly losing all control of his team as the series wore on), for an allrounder to be called great despite only being able to swing an occasional match in favour of England with his bowling and batting.

While statistics do lie on occasion, there is something to be said for reserving the adjective 'great' for those cricketers able to maintain and sustain a high level of cricketing performance over an extended period of time. To call Flintoff a 'great' Test cricketer is to admit him to an exclusive club whose membership has taken far more work, dedication, skill and longevity on the part of its members than Freddie has been able to show.

Flintoff's famous injuries have managed to obscure the fact that he has not taken smart decisions with his body, in choosing to play certain games and not others. The Flintoff legend makes these injuries sound like the fates conspiring against him, a biological conspiracy of sorts. But reality is a little more prosaic than that.

Cricket fans are familiar with the archetypal figure of the talented-but-not-great cricketer: men who showed dazzling displays of brilliance but were unable to sustain it over their careers. These men provoke passionate defenses on the part of their fans that typically take the form of "You say X is a great cricketer but I'd rather watch a short innings by Y any day" and so on. These men encourage a disdain for statistics, for the stories the scoreboards and record books tell.

Flintoff will always prompt such defenses and it is tribute to him that he does so. I have defended him in similar fashion on my blog in the past. But I've done so knowing the charges against him have contained a kernel of truth.

A great cricketer leaves his mark on the game over an extended period of time, by performing well at home and away, by setting standards (yes, statistical ones too) for others to try and emulate, by being a pioneer in some fashion. Flintoff has come close to doing some of these things but he is not there yet.

Flintoff will always be remembered as a wonderfully exciting cricketer that managed to make a couple of Ashes series played in England the stage for some great cricketing theatre. But the rest of his career, his away performances, his inconsistency, his early retirement from test cricket, will ensure that he will not be considered a great cricketer - at least in the eyes of many folks who don't write for English newspapers.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • frye on August 25, 2009, 12:11 GMT

    Being an england fan,i am sick of the media hype over freddie. I do like edward smythe's comments about flintoff being chavs yob in chief, and as for his celebrations at Lords.... i never felt so embarrassed. Flintoff is no where near as good as the others listed and the media need to stop this sycophantic tripe they keep spouting.Its as someone said earlier, Katich did a quality run out yet everyone bangs on about "freddie".

    Also even though england or rather South afraica 2nd XI won the ashes, i dont really care that they have, its clear that selling out to Sky has resulted in the public not caring as much as they did in 2005. Just doesnt feel the same and its a combination of this + the fact that england had so many incorrect decisions go their way thats tarnished it for me.

    All I can see is that South Africa, just like last year will be dishing out a cricketing lesson.

  • Jenny on August 24, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    I agree Freddie is far from great ... his stats don;t stand up -- but he has bewitched the british crowds by going down on his knees, spreading his arms and silently saying 'worship me, I am a god'. If an Aussie did that he'd be accused of lacking humility and being a poor sportsman. His one highspot at the oval -- a run out -- wasn't as good as the two by Katich -- yet Freddie gets the accolades. Go figure.

  • Patch on August 9, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    In reply to 'Big John' - Kapil Dev was left out of my 'great' list due to his relatively high bowling average (near 30). It was a marginal decision, I think he now should (in hindsight) be added to that list, (sorry to all offended Kapil fans). Shaun Pollock was a victim of my issues with meeting the character limit, I'd place him with the 'good' section.

    Another person I didn't include who should have been in the 'good' section, arguably a borderline great was Trevor Goddard - what put me off him was his solitary test century. Alan Davidson like Goddard has a higher batting avg and a lower bowling one, with a top score of 80.

    For me a great all rounders minimum requirements would be a batting average of 33+, 5 test centuries, a bowling average of 31 or below and 200 wickets.

    Interesting re Freddie, if he plays a blinder at the Oval he can achieve a higher batting than bowling average ..... maybe 100 runs and 6 (cheap) wickets .. maybe the cricinfo stats guy could check that!

  • Mr Wicket on August 6, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    My criterion for an all-rounder is someone whose batting average is higher than his bowling average and Flintoff doesn't qualify. He's too inconsistent, especially with the bat, to be called great. But he does put in some matchwinning performances with both ball and bat - an intermittent great, perhaps. Never boring, though.

  • David Elias on August 5, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    So it is true what they say... there are journalists out there that have a brain!! well done Samir Chopra

  • greyblazer on August 2, 2009, 3:37 GMT

    "Freddie may not be a great but would anyone call KP great"

    Why not if KP scores about 9000 odd runs at an average of 50 he can called a great.

    Mind you 12 of his 16 hundreds have come when England were in trouble and let us see if Freddie who is loved by many match it.

  • Gavin Heard on July 31, 2009, 21:17 GMT

    only taken 5 wickets 3 times, never taken 10 for and and average of around 33 with both bat and ball - Clearly Freddy is NOT a great - just a good all rounder.

  • Hazpa on July 30, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Why do so many players and ex-players so revere Freddie if the 'great and good' of this blog find it so ridiculous? Greatness is standing above the others. It's not a statistic. Freddie - when injury free and firing - stands above the others, and inspires teamates and fans, with an aura of Greatness. That's not to say that he has had a Great career. Just that he has Greatness within him.

  • faiz_bihari on July 29, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    At present only Sachin is a great player.And others like Ponting,Kallis and Murli are in the race of acheiving greatness

  • Walter on July 29, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    If i had to chose between Flintoff or Kallis id take Kallis any day of the week. Pollock would be another id pick above flintoff. Freddie has magic spells and can do things others can only dream about..but thats only when he's at home. Away he is ok. Kallis and Pollock have delivered all over the world time and again..and Freddie? only once every 4 years does he shine..and thats not good enough. Overrated and overpaid..

  • frye on August 25, 2009, 12:11 GMT

    Being an england fan,i am sick of the media hype over freddie. I do like edward smythe's comments about flintoff being chavs yob in chief, and as for his celebrations at Lords.... i never felt so embarrassed. Flintoff is no where near as good as the others listed and the media need to stop this sycophantic tripe they keep spouting.Its as someone said earlier, Katich did a quality run out yet everyone bangs on about "freddie".

    Also even though england or rather South afraica 2nd XI won the ashes, i dont really care that they have, its clear that selling out to Sky has resulted in the public not caring as much as they did in 2005. Just doesnt feel the same and its a combination of this + the fact that england had so many incorrect decisions go their way thats tarnished it for me.

    All I can see is that South Africa, just like last year will be dishing out a cricketing lesson.

  • Jenny on August 24, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    I agree Freddie is far from great ... his stats don;t stand up -- but he has bewitched the british crowds by going down on his knees, spreading his arms and silently saying 'worship me, I am a god'. If an Aussie did that he'd be accused of lacking humility and being a poor sportsman. His one highspot at the oval -- a run out -- wasn't as good as the two by Katich -- yet Freddie gets the accolades. Go figure.

  • Patch on August 9, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    In reply to 'Big John' - Kapil Dev was left out of my 'great' list due to his relatively high bowling average (near 30). It was a marginal decision, I think he now should (in hindsight) be added to that list, (sorry to all offended Kapil fans). Shaun Pollock was a victim of my issues with meeting the character limit, I'd place him with the 'good' section.

    Another person I didn't include who should have been in the 'good' section, arguably a borderline great was Trevor Goddard - what put me off him was his solitary test century. Alan Davidson like Goddard has a higher batting avg and a lower bowling one, with a top score of 80.

    For me a great all rounders minimum requirements would be a batting average of 33+, 5 test centuries, a bowling average of 31 or below and 200 wickets.

    Interesting re Freddie, if he plays a blinder at the Oval he can achieve a higher batting than bowling average ..... maybe 100 runs and 6 (cheap) wickets .. maybe the cricinfo stats guy could check that!

  • Mr Wicket on August 6, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    My criterion for an all-rounder is someone whose batting average is higher than his bowling average and Flintoff doesn't qualify. He's too inconsistent, especially with the bat, to be called great. But he does put in some matchwinning performances with both ball and bat - an intermittent great, perhaps. Never boring, though.

  • David Elias on August 5, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    So it is true what they say... there are journalists out there that have a brain!! well done Samir Chopra

  • greyblazer on August 2, 2009, 3:37 GMT

    "Freddie may not be a great but would anyone call KP great"

    Why not if KP scores about 9000 odd runs at an average of 50 he can called a great.

    Mind you 12 of his 16 hundreds have come when England were in trouble and let us see if Freddie who is loved by many match it.

  • Gavin Heard on July 31, 2009, 21:17 GMT

    only taken 5 wickets 3 times, never taken 10 for and and average of around 33 with both bat and ball - Clearly Freddy is NOT a great - just a good all rounder.

  • Hazpa on July 30, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Why do so many players and ex-players so revere Freddie if the 'great and good' of this blog find it so ridiculous? Greatness is standing above the others. It's not a statistic. Freddie - when injury free and firing - stands above the others, and inspires teamates and fans, with an aura of Greatness. That's not to say that he has had a Great career. Just that he has Greatness within him.

  • faiz_bihari on July 29, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    At present only Sachin is a great player.And others like Ponting,Kallis and Murli are in the race of acheiving greatness

  • Walter on July 29, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    If i had to chose between Flintoff or Kallis id take Kallis any day of the week. Pollock would be another id pick above flintoff. Freddie has magic spells and can do things others can only dream about..but thats only when he's at home. Away he is ok. Kallis and Pollock have delivered all over the world time and again..and Freddie? only once every 4 years does he shine..and thats not good enough. Overrated and overpaid..

  • lunatic on July 28, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    flintoff never proclaimed himself as a great. so why is this fuss going on?? at the end of the day cricket is a game and let's enjoy it irrespective of who performs how well..... and whether adjectives can be used for certain players or not. adjectives are relative and depends on how people see things.....

  • Sorcerer on July 28, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    Going by your defibnition of great, an Aussie icon, held to be a legend Down Under, by the name of Victor Trumper is also not a great. Well, for starters, batting average of not even 40....

  • eZoha on July 27, 2009, 15:31 GMT

    I can remember watching Flintoff playing his early international matches. It was promising-much-delivering-little. And unfortunately for him and for all cricket lovers, he was in that 'zone' for a bit too long. That, I think, barred him from being considered a great.

  • Roscoe on July 27, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    Go Mossop, the MOM official stuffed up big time. The Lords match was decided on the 1st morning, Strauss sensed weakness in Johnson & deliberately turned the screws. Johnson cracked, England got an advantage they never surrendered. The bowlers only had to get 20 wickets & that was that. The clouds even rolled in on Day 2 to help them. Flintoff liked to think he was a batting all-rounder. He fooled himself I think: he was far more dangerous as a bowler than a batsman, Botham had more right to be called a batting all-rounder yet his bowling stats were far better than Flintoff's. At least Flintoff isn't going out with a whimper now that he's announced his retirement from tests.

  • Mark Boustridge on July 27, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Cricket, more so than a lot of any other sports, defines it's heroes and legends by statistics. If we are to be subjective then we must not let emotions cloud our judgement. Rather, let the cold harsh factual light of statistics hold court. In this regard one can not consider Flintoff a great.

    Batting ave 0f 31 and a bowling average of 32

    These figures do not highlight a legend of the game. A NZ sports writer wrote it best when he penned - Flintoff is not a great player, merely a good one capable of great deeds.

    Greatness means established consistency, longevity of career and results against all comers.

    I love watching Flintoff play but cannot in all good faith, label him a great

  • Chris on July 26, 2009, 23:15 GMT

    I'm glad that sanity appears to have reigned in this thread.

    Flintoff isn't a great of the game, and I don't think any reasonable cricket-follower would say this is the case. His career can largely be broken into three sections.

    - The golden patch circa 2005, where he was excellent with the ball and dangerous with the bat. Not the best in the world at either discipline, but right up there in both, particularly bowling. - The bit preceding the golden period, where he was a chunky but aggressive batsman and a tame bowler. - The bit afterwards, where he was a very dangerous bowler who could hit the ball a bit, but not a batsman, by any means.

    Maybe if that central period dominated his career, rather than lasting for a couple of years, it'd be a different story.

    As for the Lords bowling effort, he didn't deserve MoM in that match. Over half of his wickets were tailenders. It was Strauss who deserved the accolades.

  • arjun on July 26, 2009, 22:52 GMT

    @yadav , could you name a single person who has scored all the runs that has to be scored to win. If you can not then please just shut up. Everytime a team wins team scores runs not just one person. A batsmans job is to score runs that tendulkar has done for two decades. It is foolishness to say that runs scored in lost matches do not count. If they do not count then they should be removed from record books.

    you have deslike for tendulkar but it does not affect his greatness.

  • Kamran Siddiqui on July 26, 2009, 17:42 GMT

    I have always found the mentality of the English media way too narrow. It seems that they only tend to remember those moments where they have been victorious (which have not been that many any ways). For instance, fours years from the 2005 ashes, they were still harping about it and had conveniently chosen to forget the absolute embarrassment of the 2007 ashes. No sir. Not a word. The same mentality is also trying to push Flintoff into a category reserved for a select few on the basis of practically one series (2005 ashes) and the last match at lords. This simply does not make any sense. I would suggest a simple test. Pitch Flintoff's name against greats like lara, tendulkar, sir viv richards, sir garry sobers etc. Right. It indeed does not make any sense.

  • batmanrobin on July 26, 2009, 16:52 GMT

    @yadav- The match you talked about Brian didnt scored 7 in the first innings. Infact westindies were 96/5 in the first innings in response to Aus's 400 odd n then S.Campbell scroed a even 100 and R.Jacobs hit a half century to take within 100-120 of Oz total. Then Walsh took 6 wickets in Oz second innings to shuttle them out for 190 odd. The point is no player can score 400 runs, take 10 wickets in a single match. Take any match that India played thorughout the 90s. U wud see the single handed contribution of Sachin - 114 out of 220 @Perth, 122/220 @Edbagston,111/200 @ Wanderers,116/216@Melbourne a few tat immediately crops 2 mind. How many matches did Lara win for other than the 2 in the 99 series even when he had Curtly, Courtney, Ian Bishop in his bowling team. Compare the runs scored in matches won by Sachin n Lara u ll know. One Shallow doesnt make a summer n if not 4 a ill timed back injury at Chennai Sachin wud have'd his Bardados moment against Wasim,Waqar,Saqlain. D greatest.

  • sunil on July 26, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    I just dont understand why these so called cricket fans dont understand that cricket is a team game and single individual cant win a match for a team.Mr yadav you should know that test match is composed of 2 innings.Lara's 153 was supported by campbell's 105 in the 1st inning.In the final inning he was ably supported by jacobs and campbell.And mr yadav what if walsh had not survived.lara's 153 would have been in the same bracket as sachin 136.you want to be reminded about sachin innings.what about his 155 against aus in chennai.It is at par with Lara 153,only difference was that it was in 3rd innings but pitch was turning square.You have talked about sachin wilting under pressure.I dont think that any batsmen in cricket history has batted under a greater presure as sachin.Through out the 90's he went out to bat knowing that if he gets out team is also out.he has to play under the burden of expectations of millions of fan.The bottomline is that both sachin and lara are grt.

  • Amit on July 26, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    This Blog is about Freddie and not about comparing or debating Sachin's greatness. Many of you Indian bloggers harp on and on the same old topic time & again ... its a real bore. There were greats before SRT and will damn well be after him. Grow up!!! Grow u!! a

  • Vivek on July 26, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Hi Samir,

    See the only thing the English know is Ashes and he has been instrumental in helping them achieve it once in 2005. And who knows he may even retire with another Ashes series victory. Kallis, Ponting , Youhana, Dravid may be great cricketers, but do they carry the same amount of charisma as he carries??? More over he has been the best bowler for his team in crucial(Ashes) series and he led from teh front. That might make him great. Even the epitomic fast bowler Mcgrath rates him higher than most of his contemporaries. Providing Shoaib as an example is pretty harsh, for Flintoff being genuinely injured most of the time. Brian Lara asked the crowd "Did I entertain" and Flintoff also might get a resounding YES for teh same question. Statistics is a double edged sword which may sharpen or dampen a players repute.

  • Big John on July 26, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    I enjoyed the comments from "Patch". However, leaving Kapil Dev out of the great Allrounder category would, in my opinion, be a mistake. Over 5000 test runs and more than 400 test wickets puts him in the elite category. Also, to leave Shaun Pollock out altogether does not make sense.....more test runs than Flintoff, better test batting average than Flintoff, more test wickets than Flintoff, much better test bowling average than Flintoff.....and no place on Patch's list???

  • yadav on July 26, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    @ Abhyudaya, Indeed India has won most of the time when tendulkar has scored centuries but at the same time another player was also scoring centuries or whirlwind fifties. When India won a test in England with the help of tendulkar century (193), you might not remember, but Dravid and Ganguly also scored hundreds. Similarly when India won chennai test last year with a tendulkar ton, Sehwag hit 66 balls 83 (which was hailed by many experts as the impetus to the Indian innings because of which he also got man of the match award) and Yuvraj hit 84. Just remind me one knock of his which can be rated alongside Lara's 153 not out against australia batting with the tail. Remember the second highest score in the innings was Jimmy Adams 125 balls 38. This kind of innings make a player great. Lara and the tail (Ambrose and Walsh, I hope you won't call them batsmen) scored final 60 runs in such a tough situation. Tendulkar has never batted well with the tail. He wilts under pressure most of times

  • Hari on July 26, 2009, 3:31 GMT

    Freddie Flintoff is a great player. It's unbelievable that he has such average bowling statistics. But if I am to pick a team Freddie will be one of the first players that I pick. He's is a great bowler, the statistics do lie about that. For the batting part he is not that special, particularly against good spinners. But then he should have always played in the team as a bowler who can bat, not as an all rounder. Then he would have been more effective. And also there something that he brings to the atmosphere, for all the crap that's being said here it was his bowling 5/92 in the Lords test that people would prefer to watch, not the innings played by Strauss. And finally Victor Trumper is regarded as one of the Aussie greats, what was his statistics?

  • yadav on July 26, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    @ Phil > If you say a person with a poor batting technique is not great then sunil gavaskar should have been listed in Wisden's 5 greatest cricketer of the century instead of Sir IVA Richards. Its not the batting technique that makes a batsman great. It is the capacity to infuse spirit into the game that makes a player great. I would rather called Flintoff great than Tendulkar (I duely respect his batting) who has everything to call him a great but hasn't won a single test for India. He has a career full of runs and centuries but not a single innings which single handedly won a test for his country.

  • Edward Smythe on July 26, 2009, 2:40 GMT

    Now that Freddie has his 5-for and the tabloids are in chav heaven, just wait until he hobbles off the fireld after 6.2 overs in the next test. That would be just about par for what is indeed an average (or less than average) career. The ability to excite yobs in the council flats is not a criterion for 'greatness'.

  • SD on July 26, 2009, 1:43 GMT

    There is a big difference between "Freddie was great yesterday" and "The great Freddie did yesterday".

    Great is a seriously misused word in our lives. Sobers was great. Bradman was. So was Viv Richards. As was Shane Warne.

    Freddie will be unforgettable for really great and special moments. He will never be a great of the game. That doesn't make him any less of a special player that he truly is.

    Special yes. Great no way.

    Words and semantics matter here.

  • dingo on July 25, 2009, 22:30 GMT

    Carl Hooper was great to watch even better than Lara. Does this make him great? Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting, Warne and Khallis did it all throughout their careers. Freddie is like careless Carl, great to watch but not great...period.

  • Salim on July 25, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    @Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka...Being a great player doesnt always mean you win matches for your team. Being a great player means you are capable of great things (which sometimes results in victories).Tendulkar and Murali and especially Lara have played in teams that have average results yet they are true greta of the game. They still scored hundreds and took 5 -fors. Freddie may not be a great but would anyone call KP great?

  • batmanrobin on July 25, 2009, 20:28 GMT

    @Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka - Sachin has scored nearly 10000 runs at an average of 65 in matches India have won or drawn and 5000 runs in matches that India has won. And before the coming of age of Dravid, Laxman , Ganguly , Sehwag in 2000 - the tagline for the Indian cricket team was - "One Man Army" and when he went out to bat the whole nation came to a standstill. He is simply not great but the greatest. A view shared by Shane Warne ,Brian Lara, Richard Hadlee and then wat was that guy's name - oh yeah Donald Bradman in his dream team included only one guy from modern day cricket - n i think the names i mentioned knew much more about cricket than most others

  • Brian on July 25, 2009, 18:23 GMT

    Totally agree, Fredie is not a "great cricketer" he is simply a very good player with some outstanding performances. I compare him with Botham who was a great allrounder who won test matches with bat and ball too often for it to be a fluke or a one off. Flintoff has only ever had one 'great series' in the 2005 Ashes and for the best part of the rest of his test career has been average. Statistics don't lie, Fredie has a bowling average of 32 with only 3 five fors in 80 odd tests and five test centuries at an average of 31. Botham played 102 tests with 14 centuries and 28 five fors. So people who call Flintoff a "great cricketer" should get their facts right before making such silly comments.

  • Annan Boodram on July 25, 2009, 17:33 GMT

    This article is on the ball. And the most stupid response is the one which says Tendulkar is not great! But let's get back to Fredie's performance in the second test. Aren't we all forgetting that he was gifted two wickets by the umpire. How would the British media have reacted to Freddie if the three Australian players gifted to England by the umpires had in fact not gotten a raw deal and gone on to win the game for Australia?

  • sunil on July 25, 2009, 16:47 GMT

    Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka knows nothing about cricket and is fooling himself.How can you even think of comparing tendulkar with fredie.Fredie can be brilliant on his day(which are few and far in between) but is no where near tendulkar.As for tendulkar winning matches for india just check out his stats in tne matches that india have won and you wil get your answer.

  • Phil on July 25, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    I totally agree, perhaps my opinion is one leaning even more towards the opposite of greatness concerning Freddie. Yes, he's provided entertainment and some great deliveries, perhaps even some high-scoring shots, in his career. But in terms of dedication, longevity and attitude, there is no way he can be considered "great". His batting is lacking any technique (honestly, Mitchell Johnson is a far better batsman, and more consistent) and his bowling, though very impressive at times (in terms of swing, an 'uncomfortable' length and intimidation) is often dictated by whether England is achieving at the time. His celebrations having taken a wicket show how vital an asset he thinks he is. However, his bowling is his main asset, and the statistics are not nice to look at. He seems to be a test player who performs when every condition and factor is right for him (ground, crowd, media, match, team), but should certainly not be considered "great".

  • marwin on July 25, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Great, genius is a word we use too easily. I agree totally with the post. Fredie has been a good bowler for england. He is very popular with the fans but He has not been a "great cricketer". Its quite simple actually which world eleven would he walk into? world eleven of the decade 2000-2010.. I don't think so.. We all like fredie and he has been a good cricketer to watch and follow.. I am sure we will see him in the ODI and in the IPL.

  • Abhyuday on July 25, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    @Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka, you might be a staunch Flintoff fan but that doesn't give you the right to insult other players. Most of the matches in which Tendulkar has scored centuries, India have won. Check it out in Cricinfo. It's infernally stupid to think that it is the duty of one single player in a team to win all the matches/strike the winning stroke. No body in the world has done that and by your logic there have been no great players in cricket.

  • Chintak on July 25, 2009, 2:02 GMT

    Well the "greatness" comes from the fact that English Cricket has always been ordinary since...err...they invented the game. A country desperately trying to label someone "great" because this is the best chance they will get in contemporary times. I feel sorry for English cricket somehow that they do not have Bradmans, McGraths, Tendulkars, Waughs, Warnes,Muralitharan, or Gavaskars to celebrate about. Instead, they have had to settle with Boycotts and Bothams who, I think, were not that great compared to the aforementioned figures. Along comes Freddie, so it became a national opportunity to label him great as they have to have someone to celebrate about...Alas!!..tragic times..I d'say.Let them celebrate.

  • Bastiaan on July 24, 2009, 22:44 GMT

    I don't know: getting a lot of people to (re)appreciate cricket just by the passion with which you play the game might be called 'great' as well. It's, indeed, not just statistics that make the player.

  • WinniePooh on July 24, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    The thing about 'great' players is that their stats DO back them up or at least the ones in my era of watching cricket. Freddy's don't back him up because he isn't a true great.

    Not exactly rocket science.

    But he is certainly an exciting cricketer and great fun to watch. He can do wonderful things on occasion.

  • Abhishek on July 24, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Nothing to disagree with here. The man barely turns up to play. He is brave in playing through injuries, but that can hardly be a criteria for greatness. And as the writer rightly suggested, statistics are not everything, but you can't just ignore them & keep ranting "Great Freddie", can you?

  • Matthew on July 24, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    There is no way that Flintoff can be considered great. He only has 225 wickets from a total of 77 tests which is a very low return if you even look at a plyer like Brett Lee with 310 with one less test to his name, we are not naming Brett Lee a great now are we? Andrew Flintoff has produced a few magic series in his time as a test and one-day cricketer but if you look at his bowling statistics when he went to Australia, it does not make pleasant reading... 11 wickets at an average of over 45. McGrath, Warne, Kallis, Pollock, Murali, Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Lara, Gilchrist the list goes on... Please dont de-value the name 'great' by placing Andrew Flintoff in this recent greats list. He has not acheived nearly enough.

  • bismoy on July 24, 2009, 15:59 GMT

    somebody here asking whether tendulkar is great,if tendulkar is not great,then great word has no meaning. by the way tendulkar is greatest!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike on July 24, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Take test and ODI cricket greatness separately. It's interesting that Flintoff called himself a "batting all-rounder who bowls a bit" - to me he's more like Chris Cairns, but perhaps he sees himself vaguely in the Sanath Jayasuriya mould? Now Sanath and Freddie are quite clearly brilliant cricketers, but in Tests neither can convincingly be called "great" (not up with Sobers/Kallis as a batting all-rounder, Shaun Pollock/Wasim Akram as a bowling all-rounder, or Keith Miller/Imran Khan as a balanced all-rounder). Moments of brilliance were not matched by consistency, sustained returns or any sign they changed the face of Test cricket.

    But in ODIs, lets pause before dismissing greatness out of hand. Sanath changed the way the game is played - a true sign of greatness. Flintoff was a consistently excellent balanced allrounder with the stats to back it up. Far better than Cairns, and marginally better bat/worse bowler than Pollock.

    Michael Bevan was a great ODI cricketer. Freddie too?

  • pritu on July 24, 2009, 14:53 GMT

    whatever, freddie'z a great cricketer-the stats dun do justice to him. oh! freddie

  • Mian Talat on July 24, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    In the country of blindmen one eyed is king thats what I think of Fatty Freedie.England has not produced a single allrounder in the last decade to compare him with.3 five wicket hall in test carrier does not make anybody good let alone great.Kapil dev, imran khan, sir Richard headley, Gary Sobers in the past era performed consistantly throughout their carrier.In the recent past Shaun Pollack was the best of the lot.Freddie was good to watch just like Shahid Afridi but to be great Freddie needed to perform better than his average .

  • Barry on July 24, 2009, 14:25 GMT

    Freddie has to be recognized as a very special bowler. I always look for the reaction of world's top batsman from all the test playing countries when they are facing Freddie. He probably bowls more "nearly" balls than any other fast bowler. The Aussies especially do not make their feelings known too often, but all can see how many times Freddie has them with expressions of Wow!! close call. Also how many times has the other end bowler picked up wickets, because of being softened up by Freddie. If Freddie had been more consistant with his batting, he could have been considered a great all-rounder.

  • Justin on July 24, 2009, 14:07 GMT

    You also have to look at the fact that he was bowling on a 5th day pitch. Many a bowler has got a 5-for on a fifth day pitch...many on a wicket that wasn't seaming as ridiculously as the Lord's pitch. Those players would've also had weary legs after 4 days of cricket - unlike Flintoff who was off the field and being pampered every second he didn't have the ball in his hand. The one thing that will also relegate Flintoff to a one or two series wonder, is the fact that he obviously believes his own hype. His celebrations after taking a wicket are nothing short of hilarious and cringeworthy. He is not an allrounder's bootlace, just a bowler who can be genuinley awesome given the right conditions at home...and a batsman who looked like a tailender unless a platform had already been set.

  • Saju on July 24, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    Interesting!! This is truly a "the emperor is naked" moment. It just took one person to say it out aloud!

  • Patch on July 24, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    Botham is GREAT - 14 Test centuries and 383 wickets. Freddie thus far has 5 centuries and 225 wickets. Ok, Beefy has played 25 more tests but given Flintoff's natural ability you'd say that in circa 80 Test matches he should have taken 300 wickets with 10 centuries.

    Great All-Rounders - K Miller, G Sobers, I Botham, Imran Khan, J Kallis

    Good All-Rounders (had one dominant trait or simply not as good as the top 5) - R Lindwall, R Benaud, Tony Greig, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, M Marshall, Wasim Akram

    Decent Players - Ravi Shastri, Chris Cairns, Carl Hooper, Daniel Vettori, Andrew Flintoff

    Shane Warne in my mind is an all-rounder, he didn't score a test century but has 100+ catches. The same can be argued for Mark Waugh, not enough wickets but was a great slip fielder with 100+ catches. Also consider Walter Hammond a great batsmen, with his fielding & bowling some may consider him an all rounder.

    Freddie could've been a true great if he had been given the new ball more frequently.

  • James on July 24, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    A cricketer who turns up to play every four years on his home turf can never be considered a great. A great performs in all conditions and against all teams, which freddie has not done.

  • bob holland on July 24, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    at last some perspective. great article ! sick of reading garbage like barnes and co

  • Mark on July 24, 2009, 12:07 GMT

    No doubting Freddie has had moments of greatness,but he has not had a great test match career. One wonders what might have been had he prepared himself better physically for the rigours of Test cricket

  • hhhhh on July 24, 2009, 11:18 GMT

    Not much to disagree with here.

    The English media is obviously dreadful in the manner it chooses to report anything (let alone cricket), but surely the same could be said about the media in most countries? I can imagine your average non-English cricket fan would get sick of the sycophantic articles written about Flintoff, but as bad as the English media are they don't hold a monopoly on hyping up non-"great" players.

    Speaking as an England fan, the Ashes and Flintoff's contribution to winning them in 2005 mean so much because of the routine beatings dished out by Australia previously. Watching an English bowler physically intimidate Australian batsman is not something I or many other English fans are used to.

    The Ashes get so much coverage in the English press because it's something non-cricket fans seem to be able to get into. To describe English cricket fans as only caring about the Ashes is inaccurate (although its understandable how this impression would come about)

  • Rohit on July 24, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    I disagree. I certainly don't mind calling him great, at least of the current crop. Look at his ODI statistics. An average of 24 with the ball with an ER of under 4.4. That's bloody good on its own and throw in a batting avg of 32 at a strike rate of 90. He's great. His test statistics are a bit skewed but I cannot remember a spell where the batsmen have been comfortable facing him. Unlucky some might say, but I absolutely love watching him beat batsmen up, make them play and miss repeatedly or get edges to go into gaps luckier bowlers would somehow rarely find. The fact that he gets few wickets after bowling as incredibly adds a sympathy factor. That's why we love him. Perhaps he's not a great 'Test' cricketer but given his ability to seize the moment and inspire a decent if unexciting team like England, he's definitely a great cricketer.

  • Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka on July 24, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    If Flintoff is not a great cricketer, then neither is Tendulkar. Great cricketers win matches for their teams. How many matches has Tendulkar won for India in his 20 year career?

  • Gazzypops on July 24, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    Well, I'm English and I tend to agree with (most of!) what is said here. There was quite a long period of time at the start of his career where his bowling average was up around the 50s. Now he is a largely brilliant bowler first and foremost - his batting has an ephemeral quality that only touches brilliance on rare occasions. But now his bowling IS great, within the context of the team. I think a number of English bowlers talk of Freddie with great affection because, far from 'keeping an end up' and perhaps taking a wicket or two, he has the ability to create a pressured atmosphere for the batsmen off which the rest of the attack can feed. In this respect, he is great. Statistically, what dilutes this are the injuries - and I think here of Glenn McGrath at Old Trafford '05; a great bowler made ordinary. I'm not comparing Flintoff with McGrath directly, but the comparison stands as an indication of why Freddie can't necessarily be considered truly great. Just very, very good.

  • Nipun on July 24, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    At last I find someone sharing the same thoughts of mine.Well written article indeed.

  • surya on July 24, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    The more I read what the english media write,the more I get irritated by the hype mechanism on which they work on..Its their obsession with ashes that makes them lose sight of cricket elsewhere.I agree with damien martyn in this regard,The englishmen assume that winning ashes is the end of the world(only home series.LOL).freddie's lovely to watch but if you cant maintain your consistency over a large period,you are nomore than the mercurial genius

  • ndigits on July 24, 2009, 8:54 GMT

    English media seems to have this knack of labeling their best as 'the overall best'. Most of them do not see much beyond English and Australian boundaries while doing comparisons. Many writers showered him with praises during Cardiff test when he got Phil Hughes on the back foot and got him out eventually, and that was about it. All that, for one Wicket. Most of these writers are in need of an immediate reality check.

  • Simon on July 24, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    I agree. He's bowled 4 or 5 great spells in test matches and a lot of other very good ones but ultimately not great as a batter or bowler. Not even very good but just good. He's a big character and with Petersen being raised in SA we have no one else for the media to worship. The other England cricketers are boring frankly, Swann aside.

  • Not on July 24, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Stephen Rowe has it right; the best comparison with Freddie is Chris Cairns, when he was fit and up for it he looked like he could dominate anyone and when he wasn't...

    Potential, inspiration and glimpses of genius is not enough to be considered a "Great" but it does make for a fantastic highlights package and it was exactly what the current English and Welsh cricketing team and public needed. Does anyone even think what the 2005 Ashes would have been like without Freddie? McGrath's prediction would have probably been right.

    So lets salute Freddie as he moves to 20/20 and one dayers so he'll be able to walk when he passes 40 because like all highlight packages from a good and exciting, but not great, player it's made great viewing.

  • Ellie on July 24, 2009, 7:51 GMT

    He is a man of the people because you can imagine having a drink with him down the local. Good natured, extremely likeable and a reliable performer. A "great" bloke, but not in the cricketing circles of Bradman, Tendulkar, Botham and the other godly ones.

  • Faraz Durrani on July 24, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    Okay! But then who else is great?

  • Anonymous on July 24, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    he might not be a 'great' but it's people like him who make the game look good. i mean, sure watching waugh grind a hundred is not as much fun as watching freddie make a 50. he demoralises the opposition which in my opinion is a very important thing.

  • Paul Roser on July 24, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    spot on - he's only been great in patches - and even if for England fans those patches were when it really mattered in 2005, the ensuing 2006-07 tour downunder, with Fred as captain, was one disaster after another.

    However - if you think English media overuse the word 'great' spare a thought for those of us who have the word 'legend' dished up daily by Aussie sports media to describe slightly-better-than-mediocre performers.

  • SK on July 24, 2009, 4:39 GMT

    He is not great and I agree that the word great has been used for too many players these days. One good series or a few good matches shouldnt make a cricketer great. Even cricinfo has made this mistake of having Brett Lee for selection of an all time Australian 11; I would say that was a classic example of having an average bowler in a list of greats. Andrew Flintoff is not great, he is entertaining and exciting and thats it.

  • Stephen Rowe on July 24, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    Brings Chris Cairns to mind. Sigh.

  • Susant on July 24, 2009, 1:25 GMT

    Excellent writing.Andrew caught my imagination , when he single handedly won a match against Pakistan in a oneday match chasing a target of 304, he played a blinder of 84 of 60 balls,taking the likes of Waqar and Wasim into cleaners. He could not sustain his brilliance, due to injury and some other reason. But to call a cricketer great as u rightly pointed out a person has to perform consistently over a period in all conditions. If u consider great, if u play well in a couple of series in your home against only one team, than it is to devalue the word 'great'. The truth is he is a good cricketer in a team of average cricketer, nothing more.

  • Edward Smythe on July 24, 2009, 0:58 GMT

    THANK YOU for stating what has needed to be said since 2006. imho, Fatty Flintoff is not just 'not great', he's not even particualrly good except in one-off bursts. Much like the fictional character he gets his nickname from, Fatty is a cartoonish bufoon who should have been extinct a long time ago. The chavs will bemoan the loss of their yob-in-chief, and ever loudly as Fatty trundles to the end, but cricket will be better for it.

  • Mossop on July 23, 2009, 22:38 GMT

    Great article and well said. Got to say that as an Aussie it was almost a case of "Not again", but the truth of the matter is taht England's win at Lords was set up way before Flintoff got hold of the ball. All the press has been "Flintoff this" and "Flintoff that", but I think Andrew Strauss got completely stiffed by the MOM adjuticator - his innings was nothing short of inspirational, and Australia lost the match in the first innings, not the second. In the first innings Jimmy Anderson did the damage, and while Freddie bowled magnificently on the last day, Jimmy Anderson was more decisive in terms of the game. A combative cricketer, a pain in the Australian backside in England, and a worthy test all-rounder - an emphatic "Yes". A great - "No". Misused by a multitude of captains - I think so. Why he is bowling 30 overs per innings in a series like this staggers me - he is way too important to the side to risk like that.

  • Mossop on July 23, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    Great article and well said. Got to say that as an Aussie it was almost a case of "Not again", but the truth of the matter is taht England's win at Lords was set up way before Flintoff got hold of the ball. All the press has been "Flintoff this" and "Flintoff that", but I think Andrew Strauss got completely stiffed by the MOM adjuticator - his innings was nothing short of inspirational, and Australia lost the match in the first innings, not the second. In the first innings Jimmy Anderson did the damage, and while Freddie bowled magnificently on the last day, Jimmy Anderson was more decisive in terms of the game. A combative cricketer, a pain in the Australian backside in England, and a worthy test all-rounder - an emphatic "Yes". A great - "No". Misused by a multitude of captains - I think so. Why he is bowling 30 overs per innings in a series like this staggers me - he is way too important to th side to risk like that.

  • Englishman on July 23, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    I agree that he might not be with some of the other greats like Tendulkar or Lara etc.. but he is very close to be called great.I can smell some "Sour Grapes" coming from some Aussie fans since Australia got hammered at Lords. Remember 2005 Ashes????

  • Andy on July 23, 2009, 22:13 GMT

    A cricketer capable of great achievement and awe-inspiring displays such as Monday at Lord's? Charismatic? Yes, without a doubt.

    But a great cricketer? I would have to agree with the writer.

  • David on July 23, 2009, 21:44 GMT

    I think that much of the reason that the English press and public laud Flintoff is that he has a similar aura as Botham (whose career averages also do not suggest greatness.) Indeed historically statistics have not been the markers of greatness - look at the batsmen in the "Golden Age" of English and Australian cricketers and their averages were often poor but their reputations were built instead on being wonderful strokemakers. Indeed I think Bradman was even criticised during his playing days on being too concerned with making runs than with how he made them.

    http://thesillymidoff.blogspot.com/

  • Aussie on July 23, 2009, 20:52 GMT

    I agree 100% on this one as the English media is giving an above average player a "GOD" like status. He had one good series in 2005 but the rest is one out of a blue performances. Even in Lord's test Freddie took 5 wickets in the second innings but the foudation was laid by the Andrew Strauss who played a captain's knock who nobody talks about...even the media missed it. If you wanna talk about "Great" you have to ask this question..Would he fit in with other "Greats" like Bradman,Sobers,Richards,Tendulkar,Lara,Warne,Murli or Waugh...these are all time Great players who have been consistently giving good performances for their countries.

  • Johann on July 23, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    I totally agree with you. My English colleagues are in awe of Flintoff. Yet he started as a fatboy with poor physical discipline, although loads of promise. He only started realising some of his potential after he slimmed down, but then his body could not cope with the workload. He was a poor captain and his performances littered with failures when England needed him to contribute even to just a modest degree-he could not even behave himself when he was captain of the team. The way he celebrated his wickets at Lords (i.e. taking a haughty stance rather than the customary jubilation naturally exhibited by fast bowlers of much greater stature) would suggest that he has in inflated view of his own stature. To put him in the "great" category would be a sad abuse of the word. Jacques Kallis & Shaun Pollock are great allrounders, contributing substantially to their teams through all types of conditions, match situations and in all forms of the game. Freddie is fun to watch, but not a great.

  • Andy on July 23, 2009, 20:19 GMT

    The English seemed to have succumbed to the American disease, calling every mundane thing 'Great'. Example? I had a great bowel movement in the morning. If great gets taken, we need to find a new adjective for the true titans. Is Titan the new great?

  • Michael on July 23, 2009, 19:22 GMT

    There's a difference between putting in one or two great performances - which many players, including Flintoff, have done in their careers - and being a great player, which means putting in such performances consistently, regardless of opposition or venue, over a period of at least several years. Freddie is a good fast bowler who can sometimes produce an outstanding spell, and an average batsman who occasionally plays a very good innings. He's certainly the best allrounder England have had in the last 15 years, but given the competition (Lewis? Irani? Ealham?) that isn't hard. The only genuinely great allrounder we've seen in that time has been Jacques Kallis.

  • Yogesh on July 23, 2009, 19:11 GMT

    Quite right. I am also a big fan of Freddie. I love watching him bowl. The way he goes full pelt at the batsman and I always feel that he is one of the under-rewarded bowlers. But his batting has not been consistent enough to class him as an all-rounder, forget even the word "great". He is truly a "force of nature", totally fascinating to watch. But thats it. Favourites can be defined by emotions but greatness only by performances. Even Sanath took ODI batting to a new level, can thrill the crowds and on his day destroy any opposition single-handedly. But he still remains a mighty fine player but not great and so does Freddie. And so does Michael Vaughan too. Media seems to be dishing out greatness to too many people now a days.

  • Walter on July 23, 2009, 18:58 GMT

    I'm sure youre going to cop quite a bit of flack for this one as most of the english supporters swear by freddie. Though hes nowhere near great in my book( there are quite a few allrounders of the modern era who would fit that tag much better) he has had a few awe inspiring moments.

    Better than average...yes but great? not by a longshot

  • nick on July 23, 2009, 18:37 GMT

    I agree with this article. Freddy has been much too eratic to be considered great.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • nick on July 23, 2009, 18:37 GMT

    I agree with this article. Freddy has been much too eratic to be considered great.

  • Walter on July 23, 2009, 18:58 GMT

    I'm sure youre going to cop quite a bit of flack for this one as most of the english supporters swear by freddie. Though hes nowhere near great in my book( there are quite a few allrounders of the modern era who would fit that tag much better) he has had a few awe inspiring moments.

    Better than average...yes but great? not by a longshot

  • Yogesh on July 23, 2009, 19:11 GMT

    Quite right. I am also a big fan of Freddie. I love watching him bowl. The way he goes full pelt at the batsman and I always feel that he is one of the under-rewarded bowlers. But his batting has not been consistent enough to class him as an all-rounder, forget even the word "great". He is truly a "force of nature", totally fascinating to watch. But thats it. Favourites can be defined by emotions but greatness only by performances. Even Sanath took ODI batting to a new level, can thrill the crowds and on his day destroy any opposition single-handedly. But he still remains a mighty fine player but not great and so does Freddie. And so does Michael Vaughan too. Media seems to be dishing out greatness to too many people now a days.

  • Michael on July 23, 2009, 19:22 GMT

    There's a difference between putting in one or two great performances - which many players, including Flintoff, have done in their careers - and being a great player, which means putting in such performances consistently, regardless of opposition or venue, over a period of at least several years. Freddie is a good fast bowler who can sometimes produce an outstanding spell, and an average batsman who occasionally plays a very good innings. He's certainly the best allrounder England have had in the last 15 years, but given the competition (Lewis? Irani? Ealham?) that isn't hard. The only genuinely great allrounder we've seen in that time has been Jacques Kallis.

  • Andy on July 23, 2009, 20:19 GMT

    The English seemed to have succumbed to the American disease, calling every mundane thing 'Great'. Example? I had a great bowel movement in the morning. If great gets taken, we need to find a new adjective for the true titans. Is Titan the new great?

  • Johann on July 23, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    I totally agree with you. My English colleagues are in awe of Flintoff. Yet he started as a fatboy with poor physical discipline, although loads of promise. He only started realising some of his potential after he slimmed down, but then his body could not cope with the workload. He was a poor captain and his performances littered with failures when England needed him to contribute even to just a modest degree-he could not even behave himself when he was captain of the team. The way he celebrated his wickets at Lords (i.e. taking a haughty stance rather than the customary jubilation naturally exhibited by fast bowlers of much greater stature) would suggest that he has in inflated view of his own stature. To put him in the "great" category would be a sad abuse of the word. Jacques Kallis & Shaun Pollock are great allrounders, contributing substantially to their teams through all types of conditions, match situations and in all forms of the game. Freddie is fun to watch, but not a great.

  • Aussie on July 23, 2009, 20:52 GMT

    I agree 100% on this one as the English media is giving an above average player a "GOD" like status. He had one good series in 2005 but the rest is one out of a blue performances. Even in Lord's test Freddie took 5 wickets in the second innings but the foudation was laid by the Andrew Strauss who played a captain's knock who nobody talks about...even the media missed it. If you wanna talk about "Great" you have to ask this question..Would he fit in with other "Greats" like Bradman,Sobers,Richards,Tendulkar,Lara,Warne,Murli or Waugh...these are all time Great players who have been consistently giving good performances for their countries.

  • David on July 23, 2009, 21:44 GMT

    I think that much of the reason that the English press and public laud Flintoff is that he has a similar aura as Botham (whose career averages also do not suggest greatness.) Indeed historically statistics have not been the markers of greatness - look at the batsmen in the "Golden Age" of English and Australian cricketers and their averages were often poor but their reputations were built instead on being wonderful strokemakers. Indeed I think Bradman was even criticised during his playing days on being too concerned with making runs than with how he made them.

    http://thesillymidoff.blogspot.com/

  • Andy on July 23, 2009, 22:13 GMT

    A cricketer capable of great achievement and awe-inspiring displays such as Monday at Lord's? Charismatic? Yes, without a doubt.

    But a great cricketer? I would have to agree with the writer.

  • Englishman on July 23, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    I agree that he might not be with some of the other greats like Tendulkar or Lara etc.. but he is very close to be called great.I can smell some "Sour Grapes" coming from some Aussie fans since Australia got hammered at Lords. Remember 2005 Ashes????