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View Poll Results: Who was the better Test match all-rounder?

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  • Ian Botham

    40 78.43%
  • Andrew Flintoff

    4 7.84%
  • Adam Hollioake

    7 13.73%
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Thread: Botham vs Flintoff?

  1. #1
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Botham vs Flintoff?

    A little wary of making this poll as we still don't know for sure that Flintoff's Test career is over. But we can redo it if neccessary, under the rather remarkable circumstances that there is still a chapter (or more) to run in The Freddie Story.

    Considering Test cricket only - Flintoff is obviously overwhelmingly the better ODI player, probably with ball as well as bat - who was better?

    Was always going to be such an interesting one - "The Next Botham" a tag infamously stuck on tens of cricketers, and with Flintoff it seemed we'd finally found one. Similar characters, magnificent slip-catchers, and excellent batsmen and bowlers for a time (and also awful for a time). Even similar in being troubled later in their careers (but earlier than they should have been) by injury, and alike in being to an extent at fault: Flintoff's troubles with his ankle were always highly possible with his bowling-action; and Botham's back troubles were caused overwhelmingly by his weight. So similar are the two that people started worrying about "The Next Flintoff" being a similar ghost haunting the English game for the next 20 years.

    I wonder if everyone truly realises how good Botham was early on in his career, sometimes. His first four years and 42 Tests produced results few have matched, and not as captain (whether the captaincy was at fault for the unquestionable drop-off in form is debatable, but certainly a possibility that can never be ruled-out) it's even more astonishing, though there were admittedly just 30 Tests. The next phase saw his batting remain excellent but his bowling fall away badly.The next again saw a once brilliant player only very rarely show glimpses of his past glories, and the last is something which it's a crying shame ever happened. Some would claim of course that the third phase was a result of being worked-out - nonsense, IMO, was simply a result of his own calibre dropping-off.

    Most on these boards will of course be more familiar with the Flintoff story, but to emphasise\reiterate - in his career there was the first phase where he should never, ever have been anywhere near the side; the second where he promised much and delivered little; one series where his batting developed greatly but his bowling remained poor; the star phase (note: much shorter than Botham's in terms of timespan but equal in number of games, but with much less good results with the ball and better with the bat); and the uncertain most recent phase, where he's played 8 Tests out of 25 and performed wholly unremarkably.

    So, who had the better career in the opinion of the esteemed CricketWeb?
    Fred Tetanus likes this.
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  2. #2
    You'll Never Walk Alone Nate's Avatar
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  3. #3
    International Debutant SpaceMonkey's Avatar
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    No Rikki Clarke option?

  4. #4
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Adam Hollioake > Rikki Clarke IMO. And I wanted a player who'd played a proper Test as my Dasa TBH.
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  5. #5
    International Debutant SpaceMonkey's Avatar
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    Botham for me btw, Flintoffs batting has just got to pot lately, and although his Bowling was outstanding the last few years the injurys have really stopped him in his tracks

  6. #6
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I wonder if everyone truly realises how good Botham was early on in his career, sometimes.
    Seems maybe they do, judging by results so far.

    Never would've expected Adam Hollioake to have two more votes than Flintoff mind!
    Last edited by Richard; 01-04-2008 at 12:35 PM.
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  7. #7
    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Botham
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    Hall of Fame Member steds's Avatar
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    No contest tbh.

  9. #9
    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    Even a Flintoffite like myself jsd no option but to vote Botham tbh. Much better with the bat. Think Flintoff was as good with the ball at his best, but then again Fred has only taken 2 5fers I think.

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  10. #10
    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    Think Flintoff was as good with the ball at his best,

    ooh, do you think?
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  11. #11
    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    I dunno, I was kind of reconsidering as I wrote it, Flintoff never took as many big hauls as Botham, I should say Flintoff hasn't taken as many as I still feel he could play again. Anyhow, I don't know, obviously it's different when you watch your contemporaries, but Flintoff's bowling, at his best, to me I think it's as good as anything I have seen Botham do.

    But Botham did it more often.

    Is this a lonely opinion?

  12. #12
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    I wasn't born through the star Botham phase, but I've watched him bowl through DVD and videos and the guy was bloody magnificent. If he had kept his fitness up instead of going on beer, cigs and late nights, he could have been the best all rounder of all time. Certainly, during that 42 match run, he kissed perfection.
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  13. #13
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    I dunno, I was kind of reconsidering as I wrote it, Flintoff never took as many big hauls as Botham, I should say Flintoff hasn't taken as many as I still feel he could play again. Anyhow, I don't know, obviously it's different when you watch your contemporaries, but Flintoff's bowling, at his best, to me I think it's as good as anything I have seen Botham do.

    But Botham did it more often.

    Is this a lonely opinion?
    Flintoff at times in 2005 bowled at very least fairly close to as well as Botham, I suppose - as well, indeed, as pretty much anyone.

    Even so, I daresay Botham probably bowled better over the course of an entire series (maybe even several) than Flintoff did even in 2005. It's hard to understate how superlative Botham could be with the ball early in his career. Up with the best bowlers (forget his batting) to have played the game for that brief time - possibly only Malcolm Marshall and Waqar Younis have ever been that devastating over a period of a few years.
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  14. #14
    International Regular JBH001's Avatar
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    Botham, no question.

    One thing though Rich, in regards to this:

    Botham's back troubles were caused overwhelmingly by his weight
    IIRC (you or someone may want to correct me if I am wrong) his first back injury (circa 81/82) predates his gain in weight. But his later weight gain did not help his back injury and recovering from his back complaints. In his autobiography (the most recent one) I think he comments (iirc) that his back had been an issue for him since the late 70's and that a specialist had commented that it would only be a matter of time for him where his back was concerned. Looking back I dont know if that was good advice as, who knows, it may have prompted Botham to accept something that he could have fought (in the same way for example Imran Khan fought the stress fractures in his shin). In any case, as I said, his later weight gain did not help matters and, as Imran was to comment, meant that he lost that beautiful side on action which was the key to his ability to swing the ball.
    Last edited by JBH001; 01-04-2008 at 03:42 PM.

  15. #15
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Yeah I tried to convey with "caused overwhelmingly by" that that was the main, rather than exclusive, cause. Wasn't actually aware of the thing about the specialist tho, so thanks for that.
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