Andrew Flintoff’s been away quite a long time now. He hasn’t featured in full health for England for even longer. We were starting to forget what was so good about him, but we think we remember. It’s because he has an impact.
Career averages of 32 with both bat and ball aren’t earth-shattering, but Andrew Flintoff can affect a Test match. Test matches have corners when Flintoff plays, they don’t trundle down the straight and narrow.
He might not always contribute (at least not with the bat) but he can produce those exceptional performances we were on about that win Test matches. You can’t foresee the exact course of a match before it’s even started when Andrew Flintoff plays and if you really need a wicket, he’ll damn well get you one, more often than not. Except for that Lord’s Test against Sri Lanka we were on about yesterday – we’re not forgiving him for that one.
Don’t misread this as sepia-tinted Andrew Flintoff worship. It’s nothing to do with wanting him back. It’s to do with wanting the 11 current players to influence proceedings.
Maybe if everyone should stop ‘putting their hands up’ and instead use those palms and digits to set about winning a Test match.