The last of Freddie?...not yet!
December 2010: <i>Andrew Flintoff answers his captain’s desperate call and has agreed to be a part of England’s touring party for the Ashes to be held Down Under next month onwards.</i><br/><br/>Vague…is it?<br/><br/>Somehow, I cannot accept the fact that we have seen the last of Andrew Flintoff in Tests… yet!<br/><br/>Yeah…he did bid adieu to Tests amid much fanfare after his team’s spectacular victory in the just concluded Ashes…and he has aired his desire to participate only in the shorter versions of the game. A World Cup victory is missing from his glittering CV and he has made no secret of his desire to preserve the last reserves of his injury prone body for a concentrated effort in that direction.<br/><br/>Financially too, the retirement makes sense.<br/><br/>Instead of trotting around the globe and undergoing the strenuous rigors of 5-day Test cricket, he now just needs to turn up at the park, manage one tight spell somewhere in a day, hit a quick 40 odd…a couple of catches maybe, and roll-in the moolah!<br/><br/>And then there is IPL of course, where he is already the highest paid cricketer. <br/>Just 2 months of slam bang and a cool 7.5 million-dollar cheque in his pocket….<br/><br/>What more can a guy want, you might think?<br/><br/>But then, therein lies the difference.<br/><br/>Coz the man in question doesn’t happen to be a `just another guy’.<br/><br/>In a world dominated increasingly by monotonous robot like efficiency freaks, Andrew Flintoff offers a breath of fresh air.<br/><br/>Not the most gifted cricketer around, certainly not as talented as Sir Ian Botham, Flintoff is a cricketer who has prospered due to the sheer desire to succeed.<br/><br/>A large heart and a simple mind: Flintoff’s recipe to success. <br/><br/>No wonder that he found an immediate connect with the success starved England fans who likened his good natured primitive ways to the famous cartoon character Fred Flinstone.<br/><br/>Flintoff may have won 2 Ashes, but he still carries the scars of the 5-0 drubbing he captained his side to, during their previous tour of Australia.<br/><br/>Now, for a gladiator like Flintoff, I am sure the humiliation must have been too much to endure. So a payback is due. He is still to win the Ashes in Australia.<br/><br/>I am sure he knows it and I won’t be a bit surprised if he has started plotting their downfall already.<br/><br/>And what’s more, the next World Cup happens 2 months after the Ashes.<br/><br/>What better way to approach the World Cup with an Ashes victory under your belt?<br/><br/>The Andrew Flintoff story isn’t over yet….