As the World Cup approaches, Third Umpire will be selecting a ODI World 11, with one player featuring every day. We continue with our number eight, England's talismanic allrounder, Andrew Flintoff.
At his best Flintoff is almost peerless amongst current one-day cricketers. He has the ability to influence the result of a match with both bat and ball and to lift the performance of his team.
Though he is a genuine allrounder he is more consistent with the ball than the bat. His aggression and accuracy enable him to both regularly take wickets and maintain a miserly economy rate. He is best employed as a first change bowler, containing the opposition in the second and third powerplays, and as a death bowler, where his control of line and length make him so hard to score off. He is also the first choice when wickets are needed, intimidating the batsmen with his pace and aggression.
In his pomp, Flintoff is a delightfully destructive batsman, launching huge sixes to all parts and crunching drives and pulls into the advertising hoardings. Sadly, the injuries that have plagued him recently seem to have dented his batting much more than his bowling, though he did make a few decent scores in the CB series. If he finds form with both bat and ball then the 2007 World Cup could mark the highpoint of an already wonderful career.