Sunday, 24 June 2012

That Flintoff Outburst

Flintoff - hung out to dry for his outburst against FB
Fantasy Bob had always thought his relationship with Andrew Flintoff was firmly based on mutual respect.

But Freddie went off at the deep end at a reception this week and let a Sky journalist know what he thought of FB in very direct terms.  He said,   ‘He’s a p****, a f****** p****. He sits there making judgements on players that are much better than he ever was. Believe me, he’s a p****.'

Apparently the cause of this outburst was a comment FB had made some time ago that Alistair Cook was not a natural ODI player.  FB was not the only one to make this observation at the time last year when Cook was appointed England ODI Captain.  Indeed had FB been the only one to venture this opinion, there would have been cause for alarm in medical circles, because FB has never had an original thought.   But such respected commentators as Michael Atherton also expressed scepticism.  With some justification: Cook at that point had seemed not to feature in England's ODI plans. He was not in the 2011 World Cup and his record in the format was less than compelling: in 23 innings he had a strike rate of less than 70 and a modest average of 30.52.

Since then, both FB and Atherton have been proved wrong, for the appointment of Cook has been a success and his batting has been transformed to the extent that among openers only Hashim Amla has an equivalent record over the last 2 years. In what can be considered Cook's second ODI career, he averages over 54 with a strike rate of 91.47 in 24 innings. A fine achievement - not only has Cook been a success as a batsman but also as a captain.
Cook -
thanking the powers that be
for being on  a par with FB
Some commentators have rushed to FB's support saying that to make a simple comparison of Cook's and FB's averages is misleading.  For Cook's success has been achieved against attacks that are past their best and on helpful wickets.  FB's runs have however been made against powerful attacks at the height of their powers in the lower divisions of the East of Scotland league and more often than not on bowler friendly surfaces.  It is striking that Cook has never scored runs on Edinburgh's Meadows.   Taking these factors into account statisticians can suggest that, contrary to Freddie's supposition, FB and Cook are more or less on a par as players.  In any case, FB is entitled to his view; as is Atherton; as is Flintoff.

FB would like to assure Freddie that he bears him no ill will for his outburst.  Freddie would be more than welcome to turn out for the All Stars Carlton 4th XI this season.  In fact he may find the dressing room environment much to his liking as crocked knees, backs, shoulders and hips are the dominant subject of conversation among the senior members of the squad.  Should Freddie turn up with a couple of empire biscuits as well as his cricket gear, his remarks will be overlooked and he will be made most welcome.

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