England in Australia 2006-07 November 13, 2006

'Flintoff is a complete allrounder' - Sobers

Sam Collins

Is Flintoff better than Botham? © Getty Images

Sir Garry Sobers believes Andrew Flintoff has raised himself above Ian Botham to become an allrounder of international class. However, he also hinted that the demands of the captaincy might prove too much for him in Australia.

Speaking to Cricinfo, Sobers said: "The way Flintoff plays inspires belief in the rest of his team, and he drags them with him. He can now go out and run it around, play himself in, and then attack. Ian didn't make things happen, he'd go out and smack it about, and if it didn't come off, that was just the way he played."

Sobers pointed to the loss of Michael Vaughan as a crucial blow to England's chances of retaining the Ashes. "Flintoff must learn to manage the different situations, when is the right time to bowl himself and when is the right time to hold back".

He said the loss of Simon Jones, who was a major reason for England's Ashes triumph in 2005, was a big deal and his absence would place further strain on Flintoff's shoulders. However, Sobers refused to be drawn on whether Flintoff was the right man to lead England. "As an observer it is impossible to make such a comment without knowing well the characters you are dealing with."

Sam Collins is a freelance journalist based in London