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Freddie Flintoff to retire from Test Cricket!

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England’s match winning all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has given a shock to all his fans and team members by announcing his retirement from Test Cricket. The all-rounder will retire at the end of this Ashes Series. Freddie Flintoff is just 31 years old and has still plenty to achieve in the sport but a series of injuries and surgeries have frustrated him to take the tough decision. Flintoff though will be available for ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.

Flintoff who knows his body better than anybody else has stated that his body had told him that it’s time to stop. Freddie Flintoff has undergone four ankle operations and recently a knee operation after breaking down during his maiden IPL season. The big all-rounder is fighting against many odds to last the remaining four Ashes Test while his readiness for the second Test at Lord’s itself is in big doubt because of his dodgy knee. English Cricket has been looking upto Flintoff to become the next Ian Botham but the former seems to have achieved only half of what Botham had done. Talent wise, Flintoff is not that far away though with a destructive ability with the bat and blessed with a red hot pace when it comes to bowling.

Andrew Flintoff is certainly one of the most talented cricketers ever, he could just be good with anything – batting, bowling or fielding. However, the talent couldn’t quite translate into performances. Freddie did his best though especially in Test Cricket giving whatever his body had to offer. A powerful striker of the ball, Flintoff has been disappointing with his batting with five centuries and 25 half centuries at a modest average of 31.69 till date. He is just about three hundred runs short of crossing the 4000 runs milestone in Tests. Freddie has played so far 76 Tests and has figured in 141 ODIs ever since bursting into the international circuit in 1998. In ODIs too, Flintoff has had moderate success with just over 3000 runs which includes three 100s and 18 fifties till date. His ODI batting average is similar to his average in Tests at a little over 32.00.

Although Flintoff has been equally good with both the bat and the ball, his bowling performance overall was far more consistent. At a height of 6ft 4 inches, Flintoff is a massive unit, almost like a battle tank moving in swiftly to pound the enemy. Freddie can easily be thought to be the best fast bowler right now although his figures don’t suggest that. But the batsmen who have faced him certainly would agree that Flintoff is one of the most difficult bowler to handle in Test Cricket. Flintoff’s strengths are his consistently high speeds of well over 140 kmph along with the nasty lift that he can generate with his strong shoulders. He is at the same time the most unlucky bowler as well. Flintoff often goes past the bat, beating many big batsmen comprehensively but doesn’t quite get the wickets. What he does though is create a lot of pressure on the batsmen and the bowler at the other end often gets the fruits of Flintoff’s hard work.

Till date, Flintoff has picked up 219 Test wickets at a strike rate of 65.60 balls for each wicket. His economy rate of 2.96 shows how well he is respected by the batsmen. Flintoff has only two five wicket hauls to show in Tests till date! Flintoff has got 169 ODI wickets with a strike rate of 33.20 and again a respectable economy rate of 4.39. He has got 6 four-wicket hauls and 2 five-wicket hauls which can be boosted as he will continue to play ODIs and T20Is. Flintoff could well get 120 out of 100 marks for trying his best but one could never guarantee if he would last a full series or not!

Flintoff has also had the privilege to lead England. He had a very infamous stint though receiving a 5-0 whitewash by the Aussies in the 2007 Ashes. Flintoff is expected to prolong his international career for England through limited overs cricket; he is still left with an year of his contract left with his county Lancashire.

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