Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gatting Warns Freddie against Ashes Burn-Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gatting Warns Freddie against Ashes Burn-Out

Article excerpt


ANDREW FLINTOFF must take a leaf out of Ian Botham's book of disappearing tricks if he wants to stay fresh throughout this winter's Ashes.

Like Botham 20 years ago, Flintoff will be the star attraction in Australia - constantly in demand for interviews, to attend sponsorship events or greet another group of fans.

But unlike his fellow all-rounder from England's triumphant tour of 1986, Flintoff must fulfil the obligations that go with being captain, such as Test match press conferences, meetings with match referees and selection talks with coach Duncan Fletcher.

It will add up to a mighty workload - even before 'Super Fred' gets on to the field of play - and there are some who believe he is taking on too much.

Mike Gatting understands their concern. But the man who led England to their last Ashes series victory in Australia and encouraged Botham to move away from the spotlight on that tour, believes Flintoff can perform a balancing act between work and rest.

Botham, who scored a century in the First Test in 1986 and took five wickets in an innings when the Ashes were sealed, managed to unwind between games despite the demands on his time.

"This is one area where the management have to be very strict with Andrew," Gatting said. "One of my worries about him is that, rather like 'Both' before him, he's going to play a lot of cricket and needs to be able to get away and relax as well.

"I hope the management sit down and look at it all very carefully. And I hope people like Andrew Strauss [the unofficial vice-captain] and Duncan Fletcher will take on a lot of the off-the-field duties to give Fred time to rest so he can stay fresh."

The potential strain on Flintoff would have been a lot less if England had given the captaincy to Strauss and allowed their likeliest match-winner to concentrate first on completing his recovery from ankle surgery and then performing heroics as a player. …

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