Magazine article The Spectator

Farewell Freddie

Magazine article The Spectator

Farewell Freddie

Article excerpt

Not since Ian Botham has a cricketer so captured the public imagination as Andrew Flintoff has these past few years.

Flintoff's appeal comes from the fact that he brings the game of the village green to the Test match arena. He plays the sport as all those of us who have put on whites would like to. He bats with uncomplicated power, bowls with pace and turns matches through the force of his personality.

He has played as hard off the field as he has on it. But there is something very English about his excess: more booze than bling. Few other sportsmen could have charmed the nation by turning up to Downing Street visibly drunk as he did after England won the Ashes in 2005.

If truth be told, Flintoff is not a great player. His averages - 32 with the bat and 33 with the ball - are average. But he did have one summer of greatness and that coincided with England winning back the Ashes after eight Australian triumphs in a row in one of the great Test series of all time. …

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