Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Recharged Freddie in Need of Ashes Energy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Recharged Freddie in Need of Ashes Energy

Article excerpt

THERE may be a new coach in place but if anyone can give England the fresh and vibrant start they desperately want after a winter of woe then it is Andrew Flintoff.

Little more than a fortnight ago, Flintoff looked mentally and physically exhausted as he crawled away from the wreckage of his country's World Cup campaign. And yet, next week, he will be at Lord's preparing for the first of four Tests against the West Indies and another hectic summer of near nonstop international cricket.

Flintoff is not alone in having seen Champions Trophy, Ashes series, triangular tournament and World Cup action over the past six months. But none of his England colleagues carried quite such a heavy burden on his shoulders bowler, batsman and, for the most part, captain

so it was a minor miracle he did not miss a single match through injury.

Apart from a few occasions with the ball, and maybe once or twice with the bat, though, Flintoff never remotely threatened to reach the heights of 2005 when he was just about unstoppable as the world's best cricketer. And nothing summed up his fall from grace more starkly than the one-game suspension in the Caribbean after he was caught feeling "tired and emotional" in charge of a pedalo.

From being able to do no wrong against Australia less than two years earlier, Flintoff found himself having to make a public apology and then deny suggestions he had a drink problem.

More recently, the talk has been of burn-out, with former England coach David Lloyd among those insisting the 29-year-old cannot continue to play every match, and go on all tours, if he wants to be an all conquering all-rounder.

It is a fair point and one which new coach Peter Moores will need to consider in the months ahead with trips to South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand following hard on the heels of another summer of graft against first the West Indies and then India. …

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