DateLine: 20th February 2007
Englands captain is one of the towering personalities in the sport. The leading all rounder in the game today Andrew Flintoff has answered Englands decade long prayer for a successor to Ian Botham. Whether batting, bowling or fielding and now captaining Flintoff is always in the thick of action thanks to his inborn gifts, his dynamic qualities as a player and his larger than life personality. It wasn't always like this and when he first appeared on the scene in 1998 he was an overweight 20-year-old and in the eyes of many, an over hyped cricketer. In the new millennium things changed dramatically as Flintoff unfolded his manifold talents. His brand of sparkling batting based on clean, scientific hitting has endeared him to cricket fans all over the world. His medium paced swing bowling has enough bite to give him three wickets a Test. Of course he is god sent for limited overs cricket where he has transformed many matches and turned defeat into victory. In ODIs he has a strike rate of almost 90. By 2005 he was a superstar in world cricket able to hold his own against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne and lived up to his exalted status with one of the great all round feats“ 402 runs and 24 wickets “ to star in Englands unexpected Ashes triumph. The awards have come his way thick and fast “ Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2004, ICC one-day Player of the Year in 2004, ICC Player of the Year in 2005, BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2005, an MBE in 2005. Over the next few years more awards and more feats should be in order as Flintoff takes his place among the greatest all rounders the game has seen.