Bit of pace, bit of bounce, good control and then there’s what the lazy among us refer to as ‘presence’; or worse, an ‘X-factor’.
The concept of an X-factor always pisses us off. It’s not that there’s some mystical, unknowable attribute. It’s just that you haven’t bothered to find out what it is.
In cricket, it’s usually something psychological and which is therefore hard to quantify. Adam Gilchrist spoke about Flintoff’s bowling this week:
“He creates an aura of control, even if you get a good shot away he has that look in his eye, and a demeanour, that suggests it is all part of a big plan.”
It’s the kind of thing Shane Warne did so well – only with Warne it was a more conscious thing. With Flintoff you suspect it’s less deliberate, or maybe we’re doing him a disservice by saying that.
Anyway, the point is, it’s not frigging magic.