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UK editor, ESPNcricinfo

Andrew Flintoff's retirement

Finally, farewell to a fine self-promoter

It'd be nice to say goodbye to Flintoff, but the goodbyes were all said a long time ago

Andrew Miller

September 17, 2010

Comments: 132 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Flintoff, arms outstretched, celebrates one of his five wickets on his final appearance in a Lord's Test, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 20, 2009
A great performer on his day, but in the end, the hype outweighed the contributions © PA Photos
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Graeme Swann might not have meant to sound churlish when asked, on the eve of the third ODI against Pakistan, to wax lyrical about the career of the newly retired Andrew Flintoff, but seeing as he's a man who has mastered the art of weighing his words, not least through his 140-character updates on Twitter, it's hard to believe that his lack of sentiment was an accident.

"It's sad, but so be it," was one of Swann's curt appraisals, while his declaration that Flintoff wasn't as good as Botham was delivered with a bluntness that would not, surely, have been applied had his return to the dressing room been a possibility. Then there was Swann's defence of the progress that England have made in Flintoff's absence. The team hasn't lost a rubber since he left the scene, and tomorrow they bid for their sixth series win across six different formats in this summer alone. "We're doing just fine without him," was the gist of the message.

Life goes on, even when talismanic sportsmen such as Flintoff leave the scene, but the lack of sentiment that has accompanied his final, final goodbye speaks volumes for the extent to which his era is already ancient history. The best part of 13 months have elapsed since Flintoff signed off on his Test career on the morning after the 2009 Ashes and headed off for surgery on his problematic right knee. At his farewell press conference in Tower Hill, as he chugged ostentatiously on a can of Red Bull, he was full of bluff assertions that his best was yet to come in one-day cricket, though few who witnessed him that day shared such optimism.

Yes, there's a sadness that comes with the passing of a career that, in its pomp, embodied everything that is wonderful about sport at the highest level: the guts, the athleticism, the outrageous skill - particularly when cranking up the pace in the 2005 Ashes with a hint of reverse-swing to complement his bruising line of attack. But above all in Flintoff's case it was his down-to-earth qualities that endeared him to the nation. He became the people's champion precisely because every man in the country saw shades of himself in Flintoff's journey from the pub to the pedestal (and ultimately to the pedalo).

But equally, there's only so much applause that can be milked for any one performance, and right now, five years on from his defining hour, Flintoff is milking it... bad. If he does go on to do the pantomime season - and Ladbrokes are already offering odds of 2-1 that he does - it can only be hoped there's a bloke waiting in the wings with a shepherd's crook to hoick him off-stage at the curtain call. Great performance and all that, Fred, but our hands are sore from clapping. Could you, please, just go now? (The answer to that, incidentally, is no... despite the finality of today's announcement.)

Flintoff's statistics do little justice to the magnificence of his finest hours, but neither do they lie as shamelessly as his cheerleaders might have you believe. He debuted in 1998 as an unready and overweight 20-year-old, and started to fizzle out long before he turned 30, from roughly the moment he ploughed his dicky ankle into the Lord's turf while striving for victory in a 50-over bowling spell against Sri Lanka in 2006.

His highlights reel will make glorious and wistful viewing in years to come, no doubt, but the bald truth is that in 11 years at the highest level, he was immense for precisely three. His halcyon days stretched from the summer of 2003 to the spring of 2006, in which time he scored four of his five hundreds and claimed two of his three five-fors in 38 Tests, while improving his batting and bowling averages from a ropey 31.77 and 32.78 to a top-class 41.30 and 27.78 respectively.

Either side of that, however, Flintoff drifted off into mediocrity, either through his own youthful indifference to the rigours of sportsmanship (in 21 Tests leading up to the hernia that ruled him out of the 2002-03 Ashes, he averaged 19.48 and 47.15), or latterly through the refusal of his body to put up with his punishing method of attack (in his final 20 Tests until retirement he averaged 26.37 and 37.25). It was all or nothing for Fred, which only enhanced the excitement about the moments in which he came good.

But why then does his retirement leave so many so cold? Perhaps it's not true for the wider sporting public, who still revere him, but those who've watched him at close quarters for the majority of his career baulk at the man he's become in recent years. Like cricket's version of David Beckham, Flintoff's undoubted gift for his chosen sport has been superseded by a penchant for self-promotion - to such an extent that the myth is now of greater significance than the fact, or indeed the stats.

Flintoff is, after all, Britain's first bona fide celebrity cricketer, and in the current climate that means he is better placed than most to rake it in. Whereas Mark Ramprakash, Darren Gough and Phil Tufnell are known to the wider British public as reality TV-show champions who also happened to play cricket once upon a time, Flintoff's heroics in 2005 were the reality show of choice in that remarkable summer. And the knock-on effect is still relevant five years down the line. As Swann remarked, tongue mostly in cheek: "Thanks to Fred, I'm loaded!"

It was a jokey but somewhat cutting comment. For while it is Flintoff's incontrovertible right to translate his fame into fortune, the manner in which he has done so seems entirely at odds with the endearing youngster Swann recalled from their Under-10 encounters in the 1980s. Somewhere along the line, the salt-of-the-earth Preston lad has transmogrified into a global-brand-endorsing tax exile, whose shameless willingness to be photographed in a range of Puma sweatshirts or while supping on endless cans of Red Bull has attracted the attention of Private Eye, a satirical magazine that rarely misses the opportunity to prick an inflated ego.

The Flintoff who shone intermittently in the 2009 Ashes may have been far removed from the action man who rampaged through 2005, but the contrast in his demeanour was stark, particularly during his moments of triumph. His five-wicket haul at Lord's was glorious in its defiance, given that the nature of his knee injury could not be disguised as he trudged back to his mark between deliveries, but the heroism of the moment was curdled by his entirely contrived (and wince-inducing) Jesus-on-the-cross celebration. Likewise his habit of showing the sponsor's label of his bat for every landmark - although hardly an issue during that particular series - had long been an affront to those who value spontaneity in their sportsmen. Particularly from someone as naturally unfettered as Flintoff.

 
 
There's only so much applause that can be milked for any one performance, and right now, five years on from his defining hour, Flintoff is milking it... bad
 

Furthermore, at the moment of outright victory, as the Ashes were reclaimed amid emotional (yet strangely underwhelming) scenes at The Oval last August, Flintoff's first instinct was not to cavort with his colleagues like the heart and soul of the team that he had once been. Instead he turned first to the beaten Australians, Mike Hussey and Ben Hilfenhaus, shaking their hands solemnly before slowly joining in with the celebrations.

Such sportsmanship, you might suggest, evoking memories of that genuinely touching moment at Edgbaston, when Flintoff broke off from his gallivanting to console the beaten Brett Lee. Others, of course, would suggest that that was precisely the point. After all, even the best-mannered Aussie in the world would put their own team first in such a moment.

Too many of Flintoff's final moments have been of this look-at-me variety, whereas the Fred of old cared more about how his efforts impacted on the wider team performance. When he announced his retirement on the eve of the Lord's Test last summer, for instance, eyebrows were raised about his thunder-stealing timing. And similar criticisms were voiced at The Oval today, even as a tumultuous climax to the County Championship was being contested at Flintoff's alma mater, Old Trafford. It may well be the case that he got the bad news from his doctor a day earlier and wanted to vent it at the first opportunity, but it's hard to believe it was a coincidence.

Personally, I sat watching the closing overs in the Oval press-box while writing my preview for Friday's ODI. Alongside me was a colleague from one of the red-top tabloids, who had hoped against hope to be able to devote his precious page lead to Nottinghamshire's last-ditch triumph. But the cult of Flintoff bumped all other cricket to one side - not least, of course, England's bid for victory in a one-day campaign that has already been massively overshadowed.

It would be nice to sign off by saying, "Fred, we'll miss you." But the sad thing is, the Flintoff who captured the nation's hearts said his farewells long ago.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

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Posted by alexrickets99 on (September 20, 2010, 8:18 GMT)

Don't listen to the criticism you have suffered for this article Andrew - the wool is obviously still over some people's eyes. I personally think that journalism should be multi-dimensional and focused on promoting the truth, not cliched, populist rubbish as many here seem to advocate. Well done for daring to write the truth about Flintoff, it certainly makes me respect you as a writer.

Posted by KiwiPom on (September 20, 2010, 0:40 GMT)

You'll be telling us next that Frank Tyson was useless as well

Posted by Jim1207 on (September 19, 2010, 11:05 GMT)

I guess Flintoff has polarised opinions. The beauty is everyone's point is very valid. But I would like to clarify one point - Why is he staying in Dubai now? Is it because its duty-free? Can anybody throw some light on this, may be I'm missing the truth here. If he lives there for that reason, this article would be very perfect whatever churlish and ill-timed it might be.You can't earn from Red Bull making every British to purchase and you can't escape from paying taxes in times of economic depressions. It could mean that all the heroics he had been doing all were for the money. If he has announced retirement and later he moved to elsewhere, no one cares, but now he has lost all the pride. He did his best to create a new England team and Swann should be speaking with little gratefulness - who knows how long he would be successful - but Flintoff's life has been a contradiction and do not look true to Cricket or his Country. He also seems to be not a "citizen" first in a team of exiles.

Posted by satotheend on (September 19, 2010, 10:39 GMT)

Freddie was a true gentleman and a fierce competitor. He played to entertain and in this day and age you get paid huge amounts if you can draw a crowd. He definitely did. With Pietersen he beat Australia in 2005 but as captain got smashed in the return series. I do want to state that the most intense moments I watched on a cricket pitch came from this guy. His battle with Gilchrist in 2005 which he won, his battle with Kallis in the last series which he won again and then against the Aussies again in 2009... This guy was not the most athletic but showed what could be done by adding a brain to guts and determination. Maybe he was overrated but I still enjoyed watching him play... even if as a South African he blitzed us a few times... Still remember him coming in against Donald and Pollock on his debut with England at 2/4... and he held his own... Thanx Fred... People may diss you but noyone could erase the memories u provided!

Posted by sudzz71 on (September 19, 2010, 8:58 GMT)

CHURLISH, PETULANT and most certainly this article is what it accuses Flintoff of - Mr. Miller you are a good writer and people will read you, you dont need to stoop to these levels.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

Mr Miller , 2006 in India. I watched the match at the Brabourne stadium . The senseless Indian fans screaming abuse at him as he frustrated them with the bat for a whole day, the fourth with an amazingly disciplined performance, ensuring that England piled up a lead of 300 odd and won their first match in India in a while. He had it all , talent, perseverance and a huge heart. He was just the victim of injury. A sad day, but not as sad as 2009 when we knew we would never see him on the Test scene again.

Posted by zxaar on (September 19, 2010, 1:29 GMT)

Great and bold article. It is really hard to argue against cold facts. Cold facts are as this article points out he was mediocre for say 90% of his career. He was just above average for 10% for his career and seeing his lack of talent i would say that for those moments he got lucky. Highly overrated player. Cricket is much better without such characters.

Posted by PeterMyton on (September 18, 2010, 23:15 GMT)

Thanks LancsTwins. To focus on Fred trying, or being told to flog Red Bull is missing the point. Completely. Fred was what every little kid wanted to be. Every naff 2nd XI club player like me fantasises about being. Impact. Run in and bowl it as fast as you can. Hit it as far and as high as you can. Stand at 2nd slip - make the excellent look easy. Watch as your 2nd slip grasses the same. Encourage....

I can see why lots of cricket watchers around the world might think of him as being over-rated. StatisticallyJacques Kallis is by far the greater all rounder. Fine. I'd rather watch the selfless Fred or Afridi or Sehwag or Lara or Gilchrist or Gayle for their sense of adventure.

Kids in England will be crying today because their hero isn't going to play any more.

Be fair to Andrew Miller his output is usually good and he seems peeved that his work on an article has been made obsolete by the timing of Fred's retirement. But he's the only one crying about that today..

Posted by dar268 on (September 18, 2010, 21:38 GMT)

Bravo Mr Miller. Freddie, the great English patriot...um, well why has he has become a tax exile then, leaving the rest of us to pay off the national deficit.

Posted by pochard on (September 18, 2010, 19:54 GMT)

Well, Mr Miller, quite an unpopular article, isn't it? I wonder if you'll learn from this? Probably all you'll learn is that sensationalism gets readers and morality can go hang.

Posted by LancsTwins on (September 18, 2010, 16:17 GMT)

What a sad article to read. Remarkable to see a piece on Flintoff that manages to ignore the pleasure and joy he brought in his best moments and the unfailing enthusiasm and committment he showed in the rest, pounding away keeping control at one end for far too long as Captains as various as Hussain, Vaughan, Pieterson and Strauss relied on him to keep the ship from drifting right off course. PeterMyton's comments give a far more accurate perspective than Andrew Miller's article.

I honestly don't see the point of the article at all. Surely cricinfo readers are intelligent enough to see beyond tabloid hagiography without needing Mr Miller educating us to the man's failing?. And in a week when the fabric of the game is again torn by spot-fixing claims, what failings are Flintoff's! He drank Red Bull! He made money from being good at cricket! He celebrated too much! Except when we won when, er, he didn't celebrate enough as he was too busy being sporting, the swine! Risible.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2010, 15:23 GMT)

Its unfortunate to see people arguing on his abilities... he was a cricketer who always played with best cricketing spirit.. loose or win he always took cricket as his biggest passion, a salute to one of the best cricketer ever born !!! Love you Freddy.. will always miss your presence in best form of cricket, i.e., Test Cricket... Ashes 2005 will always be my most memorable series...

Posted by AyrtonS on (September 18, 2010, 14:17 GMT)

Fred gave his all to English cricket, he was one of those players that elevated the game to another level.

Fred, The cricketing fans around the world that had the great fortune of seeing you play will miss you trememdously.

We wish you all of the best in your future endavours. Thanks for the wonderful memories.

Posted by PeterMyton on (September 18, 2010, 11:48 GMT)

It's a somewhat strange article and somewhat inappropriate. You can't compare him to Botham for countless reasons. Botham bowled in an era of ropey pitches and had Bob Willis at the other end. Freddie rarely got the new ball, had the flakey Steve Harmison as a partner, and is bowling on the roads of this era. What would Viv Richards average now? 70+?

From Freddie's point of view, he's got a wife, kids and his body is falling to bits. He's been thrashing himself since the age of 10 and must have known in 2009 he was potentially down to the last of the summer wine. How many ops has he had? How many re-habs? How much pain? You milk it, mate. And good luck to you. As for Mr Miller's criticism, who fuels the flame? Seems rather odd to follow every microcosm of a player and then critise him for taking advantage of it.

Flintoff's body has been smashed on the placed roadlike wickets of this era. See also Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Shane Bond.

Regards, Peter

Posted by Bytheway on (September 18, 2010, 11:32 GMT)

This is an article in poor taste, Mr Miller. Flintoff was the most iconic English cricketer of the last decade. Give him his due with good grace.

Posted by jaslog on (September 18, 2010, 11:02 GMT)

Fredie might not be the best of the best,but he certainly wasnt a mediocore cricketer.He was an clear impact player which are really difficult to find like a yuvraj sing or shoaib akhtar.For instance the hostility with which he bowled made life for other bowlers easier,having said that he never did justice to his imense talent and potenial.Consistency is one factor which defies him from greatness.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2010, 11:00 GMT)

It's a shame that the overall tone of this article is unnecessarily churlish, but I do agree that the Freddie Phenomenon has involved far too much hype in recent years so I go some way towards agreeing with the point Andrew Miller is very clumsily trying to make. As a batsman, Flintoff was a very over-rated slogger who was apparently incapable of developing any other style of batting. He was a very dependable 2nd slip, certainly. But the enigma is his bowling. For me, the key anecdote was that it needed a major heart-to-heart with Troy Cooley before the penny dropped that he was there to take wickets, not just to keep one end going while someone else did the damage. Even before this, he was accurate and economical, but only after this "revelation" (2004?) did his wicket-haul start to look impressive. Oh, and isn't it interesting that once again all the talk is of the 2005 and 2009 ashes, while the 2006-2007 fiasco under his leadership is conveniently forgotten!

Posted by saara93 on (September 18, 2010, 10:14 GMT)

freddy was an awsum and inspiring cricketer!he has contributed heaps to english cricket and v r all proud fans of him!he was an absolute awe to watch in the field especially during da 05 ashes in england!he has had an absolutely brilliant career n has been a great ambassador to cricket!i wish him all the best for a great future ahead of him!we love u freddie!

Posted by dhonivisiri on (September 18, 2010, 9:44 GMT)

@Maheshwaran.S - Simon Jones and KP had an interesting part to play too in that series...to say Fredy inspired the test scenario or at least the viewer experience is an overstatement..in fact it doesnt hold water...Fredy is mediocre and overly hyped by the british media...he was a decent all-rounder to start with whose bowling then improved quite opposite to his batting...deserves credit for his Ashes 2005 display..but nowhere close to Bothamlike..

Posted by AhmadSaleem on (September 18, 2010, 9:14 GMT)

He was an impact player like what Afridi is. But we just can't categorize them in greats. Certainly they are very good and at times look out of this world but they lack consistency which is required to become an all time great. You can compare some of his performances with Botham but they have no comparisons with each other. Botham was head and shoulders ahead of Freddy at his peak.

Posted by sanjaycrickfan on (September 18, 2010, 8:49 GMT)

Like most English players, his performances were only within England and only against Australia. But that's what matters to the Englishmen as their mindset is Ashes centric. A century at Lord's against Australia will suddenly make a batsman one of the top talents in the world while someone else may have been scoring consistently elsewhere for years and he will be brushed off as another batsman making merry on flat wickets. Their hypocrisy is amazing.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

Those that can,do. Those that can't become journalists, most of them very poor.

Perhaps you could see a psychologist about you own feelings of inadequacy Mr.Miller, if you can only elevate your own position by downgrading the acheivements of others.

To make out Andrew Flintoff as being somehow an engineer of his own fame is very far from the truth. He was elevated to hero status by the public and the media, and for good reasons.

Whilst his batting tailed off, his bowling was always spot on. Whilst no-one should be immune from criticism, I think that Miller should go and pick on someone who deserves to be brought down.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2010, 7:11 GMT)

Never understood Fredy Mania, probably never will. There were, what, three phenomenal performances against the Aussies that have gone on to make Fredy's legend? He is very good, but to suggest that he was a great, a Botham of our times even, is just paying too much attention to his PR machine - and the less said about his PR shtick the better. The greatest allrounder of this era will always be Kallis in my opinion.

Posted by Aussasinator on (September 18, 2010, 6:49 GMT)

He's the greatest impact player modern cricket has seen. His impact was not only on the oppposition but in an overwhelmingly positive manner, on his team and country. We may not have a larger than life personality like him for a long time.

Posted by MAHESHWARAN.S on (September 18, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

I am a big fan of fredy i watch test matches in my home and all of a sudden my farther would come and who's playing i would say india ,then he would ask whats the score like 101 for 1 oh good overs my answer its 55 overs you are watching test come donut waste ur time in test matches it will be a draw i but i would not listen to him and then it was ashes 2005 first match was not that interesting it was a one sided match then from then on i and my father would go on watch all the test matches from this you can make out the impact of fredy to test cricket we would surely miss that

Posted by hattrick_thug on (September 18, 2010, 5:28 GMT)

I just never understood they hype about Freddie. His all-rounder statistics pale in comparison to Kallis, particularly when you take into account general availability to play 100% of the time. Hugely overrated as a bowler, and seriously undependable as a batsman. Perhaps he fitted into the vacuum of the times, when there was nobody else available. Let's not even mention him in the same sentence as. Beefy, or Hadlee, or Imran, not even Kapil - these were people that showed up every morning of every Test match, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to kick up some fuss. And celebration of a wicket for these varied from a quiet grin to a sense of relief from the result of planning, not the jesus christ superstar posturing.

Posted by SoulLimbo on (September 18, 2010, 1:02 GMT)

Churlish. Borderline offensive. Crass. For shame.

Posted by honeyb on (September 18, 2010, 0:52 GMT)

An article poorly timed, and biased. I can go along with some of the points in the article. But to suggest that Freddie played for himself before the team is the writers biggest folly. Yes his stats didn't stats didn't compare well with the great players of yesteryear and today. but that's where Freddie's uniqueness lies. I'd love for someone to do a statistical analysis of Fred's record in England wins vs otherwise. My hunch is his stats must be getting towards what you'd expect from a world class player in wins. Yes, he wasn't world class for a long period of his career the same way a Botham, Hadlee, Dev, Khan. But boy, when he was at his best was he world class! Ask the greatest team to ever play test cricket what they thought about him, and I think they are more qualified to comment than Mr.Miller. Also he played for the fans, the same way a footballer does when he scores a goal. That might come across as cocky, but I for one loved it! Oh by the way, I don't even support England!

Posted by cricketdad on (September 17, 2010, 23:33 GMT)

I rarely repspond to articles like this - BUT YOU'VE GOT IT COMPLETELY WRONG!!!!

To a generation of young cricketers Freddie was and still is an absolute hero! He has inspired thousands of young athletes to take up cricket. How else can you explain the explosion in youth cricket in the last 5 years? Graeme Swann? My son could have chosen any sport but he came of age during the 2005 Ashes. Now he competes for his county cricket side and prepares for his matches by playing the 2005 Ashes CD over and over and over and over.... skipping the non-Freddie bits. He and I attended the 2009 Ashes Lords test and we brought our binoculars.. We saw the joy in Freddie's face as he worked the batsmen over on his way to his fivefor - he was a kid again, doing what he loved..

And there is a young generation of cricketers who adore and idolise him.

Perhaps you'd like to help me explain your article to my son. He'll be devastated when he reads it.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 23:23 GMT)

Jacques Kallis (ok it asked for more than 25 characters)

Posted by BillyCC on (September 17, 2010, 23:04 GMT)

Gary Denton, I have no doubt that England have several emerging big moment players in their current squad. In fact, Swann is probably at the top of that list at the moment. However, if your all-rounder is the one with the X Factor and big match plays, then the team has a double advantage. Therefore, I think Flintoff could have had an important role to play in the Ashes if he had been fit. Andrew Symonds had a similar role for Australia.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 22:35 GMT)

Spot on, Andrew. Flintoff's shameless marketing of himself - and Red Bull :-( - has particularly grated with me for years.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 21:54 GMT)

Fair play Miller. It's your opinion, but I think you've got it all wrong. We as the public knew he couldn't carry on, but Flintoff wanted to carry on, and that sheer determination of "do or die" is the attitude he carried when he batted (even if it was poor), when he bowled, when he fielded, and even when he took to rehab. He was an entertainer, and he emptied bars. Everyone wanted to see Freddie because he had that aura about him, and the public took a shine to him, even if at times he was irresponsible. You're basically saying characters aren't good enough in the modern game, which is total bull. Cricket is a better game with these characters, especially those that not only lift the team, but also intimidate the foes.

Yes, England are in a good position now post Freddie, but he was the Botham of our generation, and we should be thankful that even when he wasn't at his absolute best, he still gave the best he could.

Posted by sachin303 on (September 17, 2010, 21:17 GMT)

A very very bad article. Definitely one cricketer who has always given more than his 100%, Made the ball and bat talk even when there was nothing in the pitch..a complete team man..and why the hell is his statistics being compared , he gets to bat mostly with the tail-enders , and when there are few overs remaining..is it justified..if one plays for statistics , he is for quite certain playing for himself. Look at the number of games he has won for his country and you will get a better idea of why the world will miss Freddie and might never see another like him.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 21:12 GMT)

Complete and utter bollocks I think is the synthesis of this article.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (September 17, 2010, 20:26 GMT)

Great article. He produced some good moments, but his 'boozy man of the people' act wore a bit thin towards the end, and the poses during the 2009 Ashes were embarrassing. If he had bothered to get fit and train a bit harder (listen to M. Vaughan's descriptions of him in the nets etc) then he wouldn't have wasted his undoubted talent and succumbed to so many injuries. But yes, I do appreciate the high points of his career and he seems to have attracted a few new fans to the sport who like 'celebrities' to be hammered out of their minds at 10am and unable to speak! THanks for the memories, please don't spend the rest of your life in a bar.

Posted by debatable on (September 17, 2010, 18:51 GMT)

A wonderful player, but yes, his constant self-promotion in the last few years sticks in the throat. A fair assessment and, despite people's need for 'no grey areas' heroes, a good article I feel.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (September 17, 2010, 18:41 GMT)

He is one of the most clutch-game performer I have seen. I just hate people toying with emotions of fans, I mean he was bit cocky thats all. Do you know how people watch Cricket on Ground. Television deals have reduced amount of people going to ground. As long as there are players like Freddy, people will always love to watch them play on ground. Now stop throwing stones or hard balls. Even personally I don't like many players do their stuff on ground or post ground, to be honest, you need to have players like them playing Cricket. I know its your opinion Miller, so I shouldn't judge much, but hey he was from UK your backyard. He has always give his best against my team. He is very big guy, and being bowler, with this amount of weight, he was bound to get injured at some point. My only regret will be that he couldn't retire on field and had to retire after final call from physicians. Cricket World need players like him so they can enjoy cricket.

Posted by Gower_esque_Chris on (September 17, 2010, 18:22 GMT)

I'm not sure the tone of the article is right, but the point it makes I think is spot on. There's no doubt he could change a game, but only really did so for a less than acceptable period of his career. Towards the end he also started to believe the excessive hype about himself - his celebrations became almost embarrassingly arrogant. I feel he ought to be remembered fondly for producing some fine individual moments, but overall his stats dont lie - he was only a top drawer strike bowler for about 4 of the years he played, and far less with the bat. Had he paid attention to his fitness and substantial batting deficiencies early on he may well have made more of his talent. He didn't, and so doesn't have stats of a great player. The rose tinted glasses need leaving at home meaning he shouldn't be thought of a a great player either.....plus the england team look a balanced and an all round better unit without him.

Posted by Crictragic1 on (September 17, 2010, 18:11 GMT)

A very poor article Mr. Miller, and I don't know why you have a gripe against Freddie. True cricket lovers, like myself, do not see Fred this way. He was a truly brilliant cricketer, and a great sportsman, at times, performed with blood and guts in a manner somewhat comparable with Sir Ian Botham. A hero for us, and you should not demean your position by writing like this.

Posted by billybroadsword on (September 17, 2010, 18:03 GMT)

This spiteful character assassination is totally undeserved. Miller has quite badly misjudged the climate of opinion, something Andrew Flintoff rarely did throughout his career.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 17:47 GMT)

itz sad.he was a brilliant player.cricketing world especially england will miss him dearly.HATS OFF TO FREDDIE......

Posted by Bearded_Lefty on (September 17, 2010, 17:43 GMT)

i personally don't like the way cricinfo is going at the moment. is it the sponsors calling the tune? the move seems to be towards a much more cynical and critical apraisal of anything

Posted by Bearded_Lefty on (September 17, 2010, 17:41 GMT)

sorry, but criticising Flintoff for him showing fair play and good sportsmanship is too far

Posted by Bearded_Lefty on (September 17, 2010, 17:08 GMT)

a poor article for me, too busy trying to do Flintoff down rather than giving a proper analysis. take for example that Flintoff was England's 'go to' bowler for about 5 years. He was by far England's best limited overs bowler from about 2003 ish. he was excellent at keeping things tight in Tests but never took quite enough wickets. having said that, i think 80 test matches with averages around 30 with both bat and ball are excellent these days

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (September 17, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

Haters can keep hating, but that won't change the reality. Freddie Flintoff was the greatest all-rounder the game of cricket has ever seen. Good bye, Fred.

Posted by AndieRae606 on (September 17, 2010, 16:53 GMT)

Who puled your chain, Andrew? I confess I didn't even read the whole article, I felt I'd read it after four paragraphs and 'milking it bad' is simply shameful and where I stopped reading. Certain players have a right to exist in a country's soul and your namesake is one of them. You've misread this one.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 16:53 GMT)

Always thought you were an idiot Miller. Thanks for proving me right.

Posted by timjevons on (September 17, 2010, 16:48 GMT)

Harsh yes but some of the points are inescapable. Trouble is you're always going to be compared to Botham who was an absolute genius especially when looking at his stats up to 200 wickets. Fred is a nice guy I've met him on several occassions and gave us moments of boys own stuff but it was only moments. We should remember the great moments and not dwell on the injury times. I agree Kallis stands ahead of him but oh what a bore I'd take Fred anytime.

Posted by sindgeon-smythe on (September 17, 2010, 16:34 GMT)

A fair article. I completely agree about the hand-shaking at the end of the last ashes. Personally I've suspected for some time that the more irritating behaviour began with a change of manager/ perhaps his supposedly canny wife. There was a period of time a year or so ago when one could not log onto a cricket site without being engulfed in the latest not-really-very-interesting-at-all Flintoff story (how he might have to have another operation, or might be disppointed if x or y happened, or how fingers-crossed he hoped to be back soon, etc etc). A minor-league Jordan. It's the press's fault for being taken in by all this nonsense (did anybody really think anybody was that interested?), but also the result perhaps of a certain lack of self-awareness from our Fred. As for the cricket, he was great at his best, but then so are many international cricketers; sadly, as the article points out, he never had the consistency that makes the truly great player.

Posted by Trickstar on (September 17, 2010, 16:24 GMT)

All this negativity from people about him being over hyped etc,as far as I'm concerned he was hyped exactly right,great impact player and had moments of greatness,but injuries stopped him from really achieving what his talents deserved.I think some people especiailly foreign supporters can't get there head around why he was so why liked and talked about,it was just because he was a likable character who put his all in to playing for England,it wasn't because the England fans thought he was the best in the world,even if he had his moments.I think there is a difference between overhyped and been loved by the fans.By the way Miller, a proper snide article.Some one below mentioned that Flintoff has done less than Afridi,get a grip ,Afridi is the definition of a overrated cricketer,he isn't fit to lace Flintoffs' boots.

Posted by Daveptee on (September 17, 2010, 16:18 GMT)

While a lot of players have the ability to be matchwinners,how many matches they actually win is important.On that count,Flintoff won very few matches other than the overhyped matches in Ashes.......

Nothing outstanding in one dayers or T-20 either,poor fitness,even Chris Cairns was better......

Just look at the all rounding greats and see where Flintoff stands !

Posted by Arachnodouche on (September 17, 2010, 15:44 GMT)

Looks like Mr. Miller was treated less than favourably by Freddie somewhere along the line. Get back to the kitchen, woman!

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 15:25 GMT)

Whilst most of this is true, the tinge of spite throughout spoils it for me. Let's not forget how he acquired this career ending injury. As for sponsorship - he's doing his duty to the companies that pay him, making no secret of it, and doing the rest of us no harm. He's been a good team man and, at (rare) times, the difference between winning and losing. Shame on you, writing this the day after he's gone for good. I'll miss him, and I suspect the English game is poorer for his loss.

Posted by r1m2 on (September 17, 2010, 14:59 GMT)

I think this article appears harsh towards a retiring sports star at first, but there's a thinly disguised sense of gratitude towards the person and the sportsman he was, and the constant glory seeking drunk fool that he had become. I am not sure if it was just the media distorting Flintoff's actual drinking habit, or if it's for a fact, but the lasting impression that I'll have of Flintoff is the constant association of how he'd be hammering the bars in celebration of his few achievements here and there. Of course when he failed to celebrate any achievement, he'd just go get hammered anyways and fall over riding a pedalo. I never heard of another "sportsman" never being associated with alcohol in quite the same manner. Sometimes I feel it might be the media, but there's that lingering doubt. Alcohol just does not help a sportsman's health for a fact. I am not sure why Freddy the alcohol monster was allowed to thrive in such a manner. In a sense I feel, the media killed their own hero.

Posted by swazzer on (September 17, 2010, 14:48 GMT)

This is a very harsh article.... The stats don't always show the truth..... Yes, Flintoff has an average record to show but throughout these years he was the only true fighter in a team filled with whiners........

Posted by Red37 on (September 17, 2010, 14:47 GMT)

Enjoyed the article. Well balanced it seems to me (from a far off Canada), but for Puffin2 when the single name "Freddie" comes up in the context of cricket it will never be Flintoff who comes to mind. Rather it will be one whose contribution to the success of England cricket spanned many consistent years - ONE FREDDIE TRUEMAN.

Posted by PradeepR on (September 17, 2010, 14:45 GMT)

1. What's wrong in making money as long as he didn't sell his soul, team or country? 2. When you are finished winning and you've accomplished what you set out to do, what's wrong in consoling the losing team's members first? Does it mean that you put the other team or country above your team or country? One might or might not get along well with his teammates to go running to them everytime you win something. As long as he wins it for his country it should be fine. He did contribute to his country and that is good enough for his fans.

Posted by ragomsk on (September 17, 2010, 14:14 GMT)

The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands.

His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow, Toiling,--rejoicing,--sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.

To me the above epitomises what Flintoff has brought to the game.I wish him well.

Shame on Miller and Swann for their comments!!

Posted by Daveptee on (September 17, 2010, 14:12 GMT)

So true,Flintoff was overhyped ,more so because England has stopped producing really talented players...in fact,the last one after Botham would have to be Peitersen,even though not exactly an Englishman.One must say however,that Flintoff tried very hard whenever he was fit enough to play.....but he was not good enough to average even 3 wickets per test(226 in 79 tests) while Irfan was close to 4 per tests(100 in 29 tests)

Just compare Flintoff stats with an out of favor all -rounder like Irfan pathan Test batting and bowling averages Flintoff 31.77 32.78 Pathan 31.57 32.26

Posted by Georgie_boy on (September 17, 2010, 13:53 GMT)

Andrew, I've little doubt that your analysis is spot-on but I think it could have waited a few days. Written so soon it looks churlish to say the least.

Posted by daager on (September 17, 2010, 13:42 GMT)

A fairly harsh article, but not altogether wide of the mark. I viewed Flintoff as mediocre compared to Kallis, but Flintoff had a lot of charisma, the ability to fire up the crowd and be a matchwinner. He was a good bloke, a good sport, and as a south african I thought he did a helleve lot for cricket, and that should be the real crux of the matter. He will be remembered for those big moments he generated, not for the fact that most of his career England were a better side without him.

In regard to self promotion the article has a point but can you blame him? Lets face it the guy has a crocked body and will miss out on the lucrative IPL, he is just trying to maximise his earnings while he can, and who can blame him. I always find it ridiculous when people criticise sportsmen and musicians for "selling out" when they go commercial. Celebrities or not, they still have families to feed , and no other talent besides their sporting ability.

Posted by Herbet on (September 17, 2010, 13:27 GMT)

I think this piece is bob on the money. Flintoff was at his peak for a very short period of time. By the end i.e. the Ashes last year, he was just tagging along trying to ape everything he did in 2005 - congratulating Australians in defeat and big celebrations. The thing is, that stuff only works when its off the cuff, the pre planned copies just look cheesy. In my opinion Graeme Swann is a far better cricketer than Flintoff ever was, but you'd never know it if you listened to the mass media. He has earned the right to be faint with his praise.Having said all that, I did like Flintoff and when he was on song - particularly when batting - there was no beter entertainment.

Posted by v_singh on (September 17, 2010, 13:00 GMT)

Images are created by media and one needs to have a likable personality for the same. Flintoff , despite his avg. stats is one such example. English team had been humiliated for over a decade during Ashes contests and when they regained the urn in '05, Flintoff played an important part in it - and was declared a legend (by fans).. Had he been a true legend - he should have been able to prevent a 5-0 thrashing in '07 !! This is not to say that he was not a good player.. He was a wonderful all-rounder whom the media and ECB and media used to build up public interest (every country does that - and every country does not have the luxury of multiple icons like my country has with Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble & Sehwag !!)

Flintoff... a Good player - YES... a Legend - definitely NO...

Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (September 17, 2010, 12:57 GMT)

Some sober perspective on Flintoff is required and Miller has supplied it nicely. Great entertainer, heart of a lion, but latterly a walking (or limping) billboard. There's no comparison with Botham or the other great allrounders of that era who were world class in both departments but Flintoff was Flintoff and we should be grateful for the fabulous entertainment he provided and the way he played the game with a smile on his face.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 12:44 GMT)

This is a pretty churlish piece. I understand that Mr Miller is trying to capture an interesting editorial view against the prevailing public opinion but I think to depict Flintoff as a non-team man, a la Boycott, seems wide of the mark. His devotion to keeping control of the game in the name of the team seems to contradict that.

Most importantly, he was the one English bowler that consistently intimidated other batsmen. His batting was a bonus, and where he wasn't a consistent performer (hence averages), he put together galvanised performances that won us games; often big games.

He was an uninspiring captain (as outstanding players often are) and there seems to be a growing discourse that he was a polarising figure in the dressing room. But like Beckham, his hype was built on genuine talent and clear-for-all-to-see commitment to beating the oppostition. This is what England fans will remember.

Posted by ivktyr on (September 17, 2010, 12:43 GMT)

I think this is a reasonably fair article Flintoff was on his day a great cricketer but there were never enough of those days to make him a true great of the game despite what some people in the press seem to be saying. One thing is the article I would disagree with is the comment "Britain's first bona fide celebrity cricketer" sorry Andrew he is nowhere near the first, you only have to go back to the mid eighties to find another, Ian Botham, before him you had Dennis Compton, and you'd have to go back to WG Grace to find the first. WG used his celebrity to earn far more in todays terms than Freddy ever will

Posted by puffin2 on (September 17, 2010, 12:35 GMT)

Sorry Swanny - you and your current ilk are not fit to lick Freddie's boots. In years to come, everyone will know who is being referred to when the name Freddie is mentioned...you may be a cheeky chappy - but.....who will remember you sunshine ? You and one or two others of the current England team have always been jealous of the charisma that Freddie had/has - get over it. Freddie's biggest attribute was his ultimate fairness and from what I recall - never kicked his team-mates in interview, not like some eh?

Posted by DennisLillenRodMarsh on (September 17, 2010, 12:24 GMT)

I was not a big fan of Flintoff myself. I did like some of his performances though. I believe he was a Showman. A lot of times i feel that is the exact kind of Entertainment Quotient, English Cricket now lacks with Kevin Petersen. You need larger than life figures if you want to attract the current generation. You can go back to your existing stiff upper lipped patrons, but for how long.

There are some characters like Flintoff, Shoaib Akthar, Youvraj Singh, Pollard ,Kevin Petersen who might not fit into your definition of a 'Gentleman Cricketer'. But believe me you, they are fun to watch and people want to pay to see them !!!!!

Cricket needs to expand its definition of greatness like every other Sport.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 12:11 GMT)

If I think through my lifetime, moments of sporting joy are few and far between. Moments from an Englishman are even rarer. Freddie has contributed to at least 3 or 4 of them, with 2 or 3 in 2005 obviously being the highlights. That summer on its own is more than enough to put Freddie in a special place. I feel sorry for those of you that disagree. Do you also bemoan George Best's missed years, rather than rejoicing in the years we did get to enjoy?

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 12:08 GMT)

@DaveG try saying that to bowling attack of your country lol

Posted by china_cricket on (September 17, 2010, 12:00 GMT)

Flintoff's character and body always meant that being one of the greats was going to be tough. Miller's article is a little on the snide side, I can feel the pleasure oozing out of the page. While no decent cricketer would deny his ultimate failing, no-one in modern cricket lit up a day's cricket like Flintoff.

It also seems he had more respect from the opposition than from his apparent team mate(s?). Sorry Swanny, not even your sparkly, chirpy, rabbit rabbit stylings could turn a day like Freddy did on occasion.

Posted by Gollo81 on (September 17, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

Agree with all of this, I resent the dig at Beckham a lot though. Beckham always puts his national team before his club or indeed any other commitments. His dedication to his country is refreshing in an age where other footballers clearly value Sky's quick buck first. This is a refreshing antidote to the tabloid sychophancy Andrew, but don't ruin it by following the weel trodden route of criticising English footballs most faithful modern day servant

Posted by Mytom on (September 17, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

I think that this article is well written but is ulimately shameful. It almost smacks a little bit of jealousy of the life and moments that Flintoff created for himself. He is generally very popular, fans loved the bravado he showed when facing the Aussies and he was without doubt a huge positive for English cricket. Hang on, he fought hard for England and was clearly passionate about his role in the team to the point that he jeopardised his future health playing on an injury. I can't see how you can justify writing an article that is clearly anti-Flintoff with the hope of describing it as an honest appraisal of his career. Pathetic.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 11:54 GMT)

This is a mean minded article which misses the point.

No sensible viewer of cricket, or even ardent England supporter, would describe Flintoff as a great. What he was, however, was Everyman - a player who one could identify with. He was human, fragile both physically & mentally, but on his day was capable of immense efforts in England's cause.

As to the self-publicity. Who would you rather see make money out of a cricketer's short career. The ECB, The ICC, or perhaps the media who make their money from talking about the game rather than playing it?

Naysaying is a journalist's absolute perogative. You are entitled to your say.

I am also entitled to remember Flintoff in his pomp.

Posted by chad_reid on (September 17, 2010, 11:49 GMT)

@ dave g, totally agree with you, behind sachin, flintoff is the most overrated cricketer.

Posted by kingkarthik on (September 17, 2010, 11:44 GMT)

Flintoff was good, period. He was occassionally world class, period. He was not in the same class as Botham, Imran, Hadlee or Kallis, period. He was a showman, period. The 2010 English team is better off without him, period. The 2005 English team was pathetic without him, period. He contributed to the overall well being of English and world cricket, period. He was the perfect counter balance for KP, period. He sucked at captaincy, period. At least he was way better then Harmison.... oh wait, the entire county circuit is lined up to say they are better than Harmison, period. Has Harmison retired?

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 11:44 GMT)

I don't think this article represents the emotion Flintoff brings to a game. No one in the current England would give me goosebumps. Flintoff gave me goosebumps to watch. Its like Warne vs Murali. Murali had better stats but stats don't say everything. Warne was spectacular like Flintofff. Murali was same old like McGrath. Needless to say Warne and Flintoff are up there in my favorite cricketers to watch :)

Posted by ivktyr on (September 17, 2010, 11:44 GMT)

I think this is a reasonably fair article Flintoff was on his day a great cricketer but there were never enough of those days to make him a true great of the game despite what some people in the press seem to be saying. One thing is the article I would disagree with is the comment "Britain's first bona fide celebrity cricketer" sorry Andrew he is nowhere near the first, you only have to go back to the mid eighties to find another, Ian Botham, before him you had Dennis Compton, and you'd have to go back to WG Grace to find the first. WG used his celebrity to earn far more in todays terms than Freddy ever will

Posted by Glam4eva on (September 17, 2010, 11:42 GMT)

I think you're being slightly unfair to Fred. I am actually surprised to hear so much bad press about his retirement when I looked at this site and the papers this morning. When I heard about his retirement yesterday I was saddened but not shocked, and then concentrated on the end of the Championship season. I was in no way distracted. On another matter people will undoubtedly continue to discredit him in terms of his stats or persona off the field, but you said it yourself; "in Flintoff's case it was his down-to-earth qualities that endeared him to the nation", I think this summarises his career nicely. I remember adoring and looking up at Flintoff as a child before the 04/05 renaissance that turned him into a world class performer. It was his attitude and outlook on life that I will always remember and in my eyes will always make him a sporting icon, not McGrath like figures. Yes maybe he is milking it, perhaps not purposely, but can you imagine any other sportsman doing differently?

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 11:36 GMT)

I ploughed through most of the article, have to say not in good taste. With the injuries he had he could have easily subsided in a year or two of international cricket yet he still tried even in 2009. Working through injuries and giving his best will endear him to a lot of fans partisan and neutral.

Posted by cloudmess on (September 17, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

It's always hard to evaluate a sportsman's career immediately after they retire. Ian Botham's stature has steadily risen since his retirement, to the point where he is now afforded almost God-like status. Yet I can recall many back in 1993 who said he was fat and overrated, badly underachieved against the best team of the day (the West Indies), and hugely inflated his career stats with easy pickings against Packer-weakened sides, 1977-80 etc. The truth about his career is somewhere in between those two polar reactions. Flintoff need not worry about his own legacy. The way in which he developed his all-round game between 2002 and 2005 is still a great achievement, and in 2005 he probably excelled even Botham. If there is bitterness in our reaction today, it is perhaps because there was no follow-up to 2005. I always liked to see him shaking his opponent's hand. Playing it hard on the field, and being nasty and rude, are too often seen as being the same thing in the modern game.

Posted by DaveG on (September 17, 2010, 11:06 GMT)

Bang on, Mr Miller. Behind Sachin Tendulkar, Flintoff is the most over-rated cricketer in the modern game.

Posted by pochard on (September 17, 2010, 10:51 GMT)

A despicably unfair article. Much of it may be true, but so what? What counts is the entertainment he provided over the years. The attempt to sully Flintoff's reputation tells us more about your character than his. Go and work for the Sun. Please.

Posted by ia76 on (September 17, 2010, 10:51 GMT)

An article with which I am in whole-hearted agreement. I quite like the guy, but have never bought into the nonsensical references to 'our Freddie' and the over-the-top adulation. Flintoff was a good cricketer, if a flawed one, capable of game-changing and memorable moments - like a Chris Gayle - but he has never been a 'great'. It is not a churlish attack to tell the truth, and you can do so while still acknowledging the considerable contribution Flintoff has made to English cricket. His wicket celebrations in the 09 Ashes still sit uncomfortablly with me, so obviously staged as they were for the cameras - I am aware of a similar incident following Manchester United's Champions League Final victory over Chelsea, where Cristiano Ronaldo was under instructions as to how to celebrate victory (on his own, head bowed as if in prayer) to create a picture for the media. Let us dispense with the hyperbole, and simply acknowledge the retirement of a good player, not feed the Flintoff brand.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 10:44 GMT)

an absolutely pathetic attempt to gain some rating points. someone like Miller needent' have gone down like this. Flintoff's stats aren't the greatest. but certainly he was an impact cricketer, and more than any other English cricketer of recent times including the much haunted poor Kevin Pietersen, he provided the cricket lovers with the most incredible moments. what if he made some money out of it all? is he the first one to do so? Flintoff may have underachieved as a cricketer, but he instilled the much needed confidence in English cricket, and among all the bowlers of the 2000s, his name would be right up there, regardless of what such poorly timed, nasty little articles may say.

Posted by Guernica on (September 17, 2010, 10:43 GMT)

It's easy to look at averages and say Flintoff was over-rated, especially when compared to Kallis or Pollock. But it doesn't tell the whole story. Freddie didn't do cheap wickets. 45 of his 78 tests were against Australia, India or South Africa, the 3 top batting sides of his time. He rarely picked up a load of tail end wickets. Instead, he would be the one to target to the oppositions star batsmen and usually get them out. This list tells you a lot: http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/12856.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling;view=batsman_summary. Compare that with Pollock's which is full of England players.

Posted by threecows on (September 17, 2010, 10:21 GMT)

A great bit of icon bashing from Mr Miller. Provocative. But if it's an attempt to bring 'Our Freddy' down a notch or two, it fails. I'll take the guy who shakes hands with defeated Australians, who overcelebrates match winning performances after returning from serious injury, who swaggers and reaches extraordinary peaks amid the ordinary stuff. Swanny is great, but who wouldn't prefer the look-at-me ego over the "Thanks to Fred, I'm loaded" generation? This is a really professional England team, but Freddy had the Ali factor, and this current lot - with KP subdued - are not exciting cricket fans as Flintoff did. Not even close.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 10:05 GMT)

I am not sure this article is warranted at this point of time, when he retires. Some of these thoughts should have been put forward just after the Lords test match against Aussies. Not when the man is retiring. I am not English and I think batsmen throughout the world had respect for Flintoff the bowler and bowlers had respect for Flintoff the batsmen. For a person like Flintoff, he is not just the sum of his numbers. He is much more than that. During his later years, he played at times to the gallery, but not without substance. Overall, considering the timing of this article, it is a below-the-belt punch and in poor taste.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 10:01 GMT)

Hi BillyCC.

I can see Pietersen following suit if he doesn't come out of the doldrums soon.

Can we rely on his return to form in Oz?

0 and 1 in his last two county Championship knocks. Hmm.

Is he worth the risk?

As for Freddie, I thought he'd already retired. Oh and more importantly, congratulations to Notts, the real story of yesterday.

Posted by jw89 on (September 17, 2010, 9:59 GMT)

I think this one of the best written and indeed most accurate articles I have read. It is an honest assessment of Flintoff's career, something which is likely not found in any of the todays sport pages. Flintoff will always be a fondly remembered cricketer and has been inspirational to many with 2005 Ashes being the highlight. On his day he was a true great but the problem was that this was not often enough for him to be remembered in the same tier as champions such as Botham or Imran Khan. Whilst undoubtedly unlucky as a bowler with both injury and not getting the wickets he deserved, he lacked the dedication and professionalism to turn himself into great such as Kallis, instead relying on inspiration from the moment and the crowd to produce his moments of magic. His 2005 self will always be missed but as the author illustrates, England had already moved on and adjusted to life after Freddie

Posted by SuperSloMo on (September 17, 2010, 9:57 GMT)

Thoroughly nasty article. Typical "build 'em up, knock 'em down". Flintoff himself has stated he doesn't consider himself anywhere near being a "great" cricketer. But what he achieved in the mid-'00s WAS great, statistically and popularly. Injuries stopped him sustaining it. People like you irritate the hell out of me.

Posted by threecows on (September 17, 2010, 9:55 GMT)

A great bit of icon bashing from Mr Miller. Provocative. But if it's an attempt to bring 'Our Freddy' down a notch or two, it fails. I'll take the guy who shakes hands with defeated Australians, who overcelebrates match winning performances after returning from serious injury, who swaggers and reaches extraordinary peaks amid the ordinary stuff. Swanny is great, but who wouldn't prefer the look-at-me ego over the "Thanks to Fred, I'm loaded" generation? This is a really professional England team, but Freddy had the Ali factor, and this current lot - with KP subdued - are not exciting cricket fans as Flintoff did. Not even close.

Posted by scottrell on (September 17, 2010, 9:32 GMT)

For me Flintoff's absolute peak was in 2004, ability-wise. Bowling Lara round his legs that summer was mazing. He completely dominated WI with bat and ball.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 9:19 GMT)

Good article Andrew

@Micheal Henry, I have always said publically that Flintoff is one of the most overrated players of all time

Posted by MFNadeem on (September 17, 2010, 9:16 GMT)

OVER-RATTED, OVER HYPED... Three best memories of Freddi for me are: a) ashes2005 of course b) His spell against Kallis in South Africa c)His brutal hitting in Karachi to steal the show from Razzak's heroics earlier in the same match.

Worst memories: a) Most expensive IPL-2 player and hit by three sixes in his first over by Abhishak Nayar b) Ashes 2006-07 thrashing :(

Posted by karthikfromchennai on (September 17, 2010, 8:59 GMT)

The jersey incident in Mumbai when England levelled the series which prompted Saurav to remove his shirt and shouting the four letter slogan at Lord's after Yuvi and kaif chased down 300+ is still fresh in eveyone's memory, this made Flintoff more popular among Indian fans. No doubt Freddy is very talented but he could have managed his injuries and achieved more.

Posted by moodyblues on (September 17, 2010, 8:40 GMT)

Cannot understand why people are trying to pulling him down,considering what he did in Ashes 2005, sometimes even singlehandedly swinging the game back. England with Flintoff is a way better proposition than one with out him, notwithstanding the ASHES 09 truimp which could have gone either way. It is one thing beating Bangladesh and Pakistan , but another taking on aussies in their den. Swann will probably live to regret his words.. Good bye Freddie, we will miss you.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 8:38 GMT)

Swann has reasons to hate English cricketers of 2000-2005-06 as he was (unfairly, perhaps) left out of the team during those times...and Freddie rocked during those times. So his feelings to freddie are understandable for me.

And as if England is performing better because of absence of Flintoff...what a wonderful cause and effect relationship! (as if all the other parameters were still the same)

Posted by PeterSuchWasQuiteGood on (September 17, 2010, 8:29 GMT)

This seems to be an incredibly mealy-mouthed article. Most of it may be true, but its certainly not the whole truth. Whatever the averages say, Fred was a key player for much of his career, and one of the best bowlers of the 2000s. He was also a great entertainer, and someone who made cricket truly special, playing a huge role in some of the great test matches. It beggars belief that this is the UK editor's response to his retirement, even if he hasn't plaed ina while. Its not Fred who's forgotten about the cricket, but Mr Miller.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 8:26 GMT)

For those who believe, no stats are necessary. For those who don't believe, well, it's because of the stats, isn't it?. Our generation will remember the "talisman", future generations will remember Freddie the pop star/pedalo captain, not the hero of 2005.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 8:00 GMT)

First Cricinfo article to get me annoyed...

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 7:58 GMT)

This is one great article, Andrew. I don't entirely agree with it, though. Although his off-field antics have been distracting, I don't believe he has been quite so self-promoting as you describe. IT is quite possible that a lot of those incidents have been carefully planned by the PR machine surrounding him. As for his advertising exploits, I see nothing new or untoward in that. Your analysis, though, of his on-field achievements is very much spot on. It is incredible to think that he has such disappointing stats to back up his career. HIs contribution was simply more than can be measured in stats. But the real Flintoff, the Flintoff of old? I think we lost him somewhere on the '06-'07 tour of Australia, and he showed up very infrequently since then. He has been missed, but we have moved on. But I love your article; someone needed to write it, as it reflects the toughts of many. And it is splendidly written.

Posted by jackiethepen on (September 17, 2010, 7:33 GMT)

If Andrew is a fan of Freddie's, I would shudder to read a piece by his enemies...this is a snide article by a writer who has often dipped his pen into acid. It used to be thought trendy to castigate heroes and he is following that route. But truth be told it has become tiresome, repeated over and over in the media by jaundiced journalists who have no passion and conviction and can only blow out flames but can never light them. Freddie could and did. And he is in august company to compare him with that other sports icon David Beckham. Both have served their country well in means of talent and whole-heartedness. Their popularity was created by their deeds on the field and that is how they will be remembered, not by unkind comments from Swann or anyone else, including the sneers from Andrew Miller. It seems entirely inappropriate to have a go at Flintoff when he is leaving the game. If this is honesty it is the honesty of Iago.

Posted by ianChappellFan on (September 17, 2010, 7:28 GMT)

since the departure of the pak and WI great bowlers, to me Fred was the most lethal all round and intimidating fast bowler in the world. if I had to choose one fast bowler in that era, to bowl an ultimate over it wont be McGrath, Lee, Bond or even Shaoib Akhtar. It will be Flintoff. If he can get some sort of fitness back he could still be a force in T20s, like Shoaib Akhtar is proving to be.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 7:22 GMT)

Great article. Couldn't agree more.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 7:10 GMT)

Wow, I am more than a little shocked by this piece. So he made money selling his image... so what? Is a sportsman not entitled to squeeze out as much as he can from the precious few years he has in the sport? Would Mr Miller prefer than Flintoff left the sport poorer, less financially secure? The tone of this article, frankly disgusts me.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 7:09 GMT)

Love the article...Freddie is defnly over-rated, his ashes heroics stayed in mind of cricket lovers forever....His contribution to English cricket is paltry...One thing though, he was a good entertainer..but hes done less than wat Afridi has done for Pakistan

Posted by sumithky on (September 17, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

We gonna miss you freddie..Despite England successes in recent past you'd been sometimes the only man to cheer about in English team few years ago..cheers..good bye..a fan from Sri Lanka..

Posted by diri on (September 17, 2010, 6:54 GMT)

Flintoff is way over rated!!! Kallis , Pollock and Klusner were all better than him. What a team Sa had when those 3 were playing.

Posted by vswami on (September 17, 2010, 6:52 GMT)

Didnt do much before 2005 series, didnt do much after 2005 series. Its a mystery why someone who consistently bowled a heavy ball at 85 miles plus on helpful conditions got so few wickets.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

ppl forget dat he cud stil have turned up for CSK, just for de moolah.. lik so many spent-force legends out there.. but he chose not to.. that must be appreciated..

Posted by BillyCC on (September 17, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

Whilst England are doing well without him, they would not have won the Ashes had Flintoff not delivered his last hurrah at Lords which enabled them to take the 1-0 lead. Swann is saying what he thinks is true but there will come a time when a big moment player is needed and England may well be found wanting without Pietersen and Flintoff.

Posted by steveoehley on (September 17, 2010, 6:40 GMT)

Thank you Andrew Millar for an honest article. I know you have always been a fan of Freddie, so to put an honest spin on this is well appreciated. I'm also interested to see a lot of comments about Flintoff being overrated, which is exactly what I think. There's no doubt at his best, he was a top-class cricketer and the most feared bowler in the world. But true champions consistently play their best, not just for the special occasions. I think Flintoff's injury problems, while could be called "bad-luck" or "an over played allrounder", come down to the fact that he probably doesn't train enough behind the scenes, and probably spends too much time at the pub. Jacques Kallis, probably the most underrated allrounder of our time has player for 12-13 years and has been injured once or twice - so the argument must be more than just an over-worked allrounder. In summary, I'm just glad I'll never again see that arrogant pose Flintoff does after getting a wicket.

Posted by omeirzahid on (September 17, 2010, 6:40 GMT)

well that is what English Cricket is all about. tea drinking ungrateful arrogant snobbish charcters like Swann and Stuart Broad. For an English team that were bunnies in Australian hands this man(Flintoff) actually gave them the belief to fight and win, and no stats can ever reveal that. And if current the English team is any good (have doubts though, performance against Bangladesh and out of sorts Pakistan, come to Australia and India and then we would judge), Freddie gave them the stepping stone for a hopeless toothless English team to believe - an image of a certain Flintoff hobbling badly but giving his absolute all will always be registered in our minds.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 6:35 GMT)

Freddy Flintoff was a such kind of player who when comes to bat or ball we can expect that some thing can happen ..Tats why he was rated high even though his statistics as a player was not good there is no doubt tat he was a great entertainer .. U cant simply keep him out of the center stage ..England has not suffered much by the loss of Flintoff ..

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 6:34 GMT)

Freddy Flintoff was a such kind of player who when comes to bat or ball we can expect that some thing can happen ..Tats why he was rated high even though his statistics as a player was not good there is no doubt tat he was a great entertainer .. U cant simply keep him out of the center stage ..England has not suffered much by the loss of Flintoff ..

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 6:22 GMT)

I am an avid reader of cricinfo and this is the first time I am commenting because I couldn't resist myself after reading this article. I am an Indian and a huge fan of Flintoff and I genuinely believe this piece is just too harsh on him. All the popularity that cricket is enjoying in England at the moment is because of this man and all the present cricketers and journalists will do well to remember that they owe all their respective fortunes to this lad. And finally irrespective of what statistics say, Flintoff to me was a great entertainer in the same league as Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Warne and I believe that's what matters in any sport. You watch sports to get entertained and not for those lousy patriotic feelings and as an entertainer Flintoff is up there with all the legends of sports and music and literature. Cheers and all I can say well played Freddie...u r a legend in India also

Posted by badmdrfkr on (September 17, 2010, 6:12 GMT)

astonishingly, i feel so hurt that "cricket fans" are castigating freddie...today was the last day of a glorious man, please be decent and control your repulsions for some other day, atleast...from the labyrinth of insipid times for english and world cricket, he single-handedly infused life into the game i will love to my end...and proved that the mighty aussies were human afterall...so few before and since have given their all on the cricket pitch and displayed heart of a sportsman...if not for anything else, rejoice for all the moments he made you smile and cry!

Posted by JB77 on (September 17, 2010, 6:12 GMT)

Hopefully the retirement of the world's most over-rated cricketer will lead to the loss of the most over-used word in cricket articles about him: 'talismanic'. Now if only we can get rid of 'hubris'....

Posted by kapilesh23 on (September 17, 2010, 6:04 GMT)

i agree the lack of sentiments parts because i am also not feeling anything .for some extant the flintoff retiring is a laughable stuff for me because i haven't watch him play for a long time.

Posted by ianChappellFan on (September 17, 2010, 6:00 GMT)

andrew and osman are my two favourites on cricinfo. good article...I wonder if Swann becomes a smashing success, will he be able to maintain his ordinary man attitude, or will he also become another casualty in this increasingly commercialized world of professional sports.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 5:56 GMT)

A final cheers to the most overrated cricketer of his generation. The likes of him we shall see again... and again and again and again.

Posted by MattUpshot on (September 17, 2010, 5:47 GMT)

Yes, glad someone who isn't answering to a UK press sub-editor can write this. He has undone almost everything he achieved. I don't really care how much money he is entitled to make, the guy has become a jerk. Three years is right - I remember his overweight debut (and I am not that skinny myself) - so much bullishit surrounded his last four years. Much like the sad Botham of 1989-1991. What is it with the British press and these gabby allrounders? Anyway, great article Andrew. Glad someone can say this. Roll on November!

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 5:23 GMT)

Not everything can be measured in stats... freddie is a charismatic character and any sport would need such players..

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (September 17, 2010, 5:03 GMT)

its sad but true. he reached his peak, and was spectacular. on either side, its all nmnm. good article. hope flintoff enjoys his money in retirement =) [he earned every cent for the 2005 ashes heist though]

Posted by REH223 on (September 17, 2010, 4:54 GMT)

Ya, Flintoff go away now. Eng perfoming way better in your absence.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 4:50 GMT)

I can still imagine the media hunting him down on the eve of the ashes, askign him if, given a chance he would come back for the T20. There'll be a few more mentions, press conferences, flaunting of sponsor logos, speculations of an IPL deal and so on and so forth. . . and so on and so forth . .. . . . . .

Posted by Jethro77 on (September 17, 2010, 4:34 GMT)

The most accurate article i've read about Flintoff.

Posted by Fireballz on (September 17, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

That's the most negative thing I've ever seen. This guy was and still is a living legend of the game. He's not the first cricketer to retire long after his best cricket has passed him, but when someone retires most people choose to look back fondly on what that individual has acheived throughout his career. I think you English have gotten a bit arrogant since you reclaimed your Ashes, and you forget about the self-pity you wallowed in until this guy came along and single handedly lifted you out of it in 2005. He changed the way England played cricket with his enthusiasm and positivity and whether or not you want to acknowledge it, you are still reaping the benefits of his example now. Congratulations Freddie, and best of luck to you sir! Regards, a well-mannered Aussie.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 4:16 GMT)

It's funny how all the haters come out now screaming 'overrated' and 'mediocre' about Flintoff' now that he's retired. Where were all these opinions when he was still playing? Just lying talking smack about someone once after they have passed away instead of when they were still alive

Posted by   on (September 17, 2010, 3:04 GMT)

Absolutely spot-on article, couldn't agree more. Please, Flintoff, go away now.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007

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