The Freddie Flintoff show
Freddie Flintoff hails from the former mill town of Preston and his performance today got me thinking about tangential links the England quick had with his roots. Like the proverbial spiders web Flintoff had the Aussie batsman trapped in the thread of the intrepid net that he had spun.
Despite a body that is as rickety as the machines used in the mills all those years ago, always liable to break down, Flintoff is using his broken body for the betterment of his nation’s advances, as all those machines were used to Britain’s industrial advancement.
He was superb today, claiming his best figures at Lords of 5-92, a tad surprising considering his stature as one of test cricket’s finest bowlers.
Listening to the Sky coverage of the game a general consensus was reached by all the commentators, that Flintoff was able to spot game defining moments and seize them.
Indeed, it was Flintoff who had the conviction to produce the crucial wicket of Brad Haddin with his fourth ball of the morning. The wicketkeepers wicket was the final nail in the Aussies’ beleaguered coffin.
And yet Flintoff offers something more haunting then just wickets, a character, a fear-factor. Not to be critical of England’s other bowlers – who produced vital contributions to win the Lords Test – but I just don’t think they send the collywobbles to opposing batsmen, whereas a steaming-in Freddie Flintoff must send a shiver down the spine.
Flintoff’s performance today highlights everything that England will lose when he retires from Tests after the Ashes and undoubtedly there will be pressure on our other bowlers to take on Flintoff’s mantle.
For if we lose Flintoff’s ability to produce that game defining moment then England might suffer a future in the doldrums just as Preston suffered after the decline of its cotton mills.