Andrew Flintoff’s 100th game for England (he also played three for the Rest of the World XI in the not so super series against Australia a year ago) is going to be an interesting game from one point of view.
For this is going to be simply about Flintoff, the batsman and Flintoff, the captain. Flintoff, the flamboyant, in your-face paceman of a few years ago, who almost magically metamorphosed into the fitter, thinking bowler of the more recent past, will actually be swept under the carpet for now.
The England skipper is back from surgery on his right ankle but is only about 75 per cent fit and will not bowl. “It’s been a frustrating time for me,” he said on Saturday, “trying to get myself in order.
“It’s not a concern but is taking a bit of time and I will wait for the right time to get back to bowling.”
This game will also see Flintoff, who many say is already wearing too many hats, don one more — that of a top order bat. Coach Duncan Fletcher reportedly has some reservations on this score but Flintoff confirmed he would be batting at Number 3 against India on Sunday.
“I’m keen to have a go at No. 3,” he said, “really keen to bat there.” Asked whether he would do that even if he were to bowl a full 10 overs, England cricket’s talisman replied, “I think so”.
Flintoff, the skipper, had his say on Saturday too, insisting that despite England’s abysmal record in one-day cricket of late, they were as good as any in the business.