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Thread: Flintoff's Bowling

  1. #1
    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Flintoff's Bowling

    A number of people and a number of times I heard Flintoff praised as one of the very best quicks in the world post 04/05. Warne, Boycott, Langer to name a few. But why does he not have the stats to prove it?

    My theory-

    Flintoff was mainly raised as a containment bowler, trundling in 78mph-ers at the back end of a ODI innings. It wasn't until he was in his mid-twenties that he really believed that seaming was what he did best (actually evidence suggests he never really believed it). He realised if he got fit, put 100% in he could actually get to 90mph and combined with his natural accuracy he could be a world class bowler. But by this time injuries and their subsequent recoveries were taking their toll. Only when he was injury free and at his best would he pitch the ball all the way up and take wickets but all to often he would resort to his back of a length deliveries that were economical but not devastating. I remember him bowling a spell that went 6 overs, 6 runs, 3 maidens, 0 wickets that I thought was a good soundbite for his bowling.

    Be interesting to see what people think........
    Last edited by GuyFromLancs; 08-02-2010 at 04:49 PM.
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  2. #2
    International Debutant Black_Warrior's Avatar
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    I have always seen Flintoff as a bowling all rounder. He has opened the bowling, bowled at first changed, been used as a strike bowler, swung the new ball, old ball, broken partnerships, attacked when needed, contained when needed. There isnt much else he could possibly do as a bowler. Problem was as Allan Donald pointed out some time back, his body structure was not that of a fast bowler and did not allow him to remain a top fast bowler for a long period of time. Injuries ended his career in the end.

  3. #3
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Warrior View Post
    I have always seen Flintoff as a bowling all rounder. He has opened the bowling, bowled at first changed, been used as a strike bowler, swung the new ball, old ball, broken partnerships, attacked when needed, contained when needed. There isnt much else he could possibly do as a bowler. Problem was as Allan Donald pointed out some time back, his body structure was not that of a fast bowler and did not allow him to remain a top fast bowler for a long period of time. Injuries ended his career in the end.
    As have I, but unfortunately Flintoff has never seen it that way. He has always seen himself as a batsman first.

    He has these amazingly animated periods of bowling but he doesnt have a passion for it. That passion and bowling identity is required to be successful as fast bowling hurts like a bitch.
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  4. #4
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Been discussed so many times, and the way I've always seen it Flintoff's record as a bowler suffers for a few reasons:
    1) he was picked way too early (both in terms of bowling and batting) and should never, ever have been anywhere near a Test side between 1998 and 2000.
    2) he took a while from his first proper elevation to get the hang of bowling - nearly 3 years in fact, as he was called in in 2001/02 in a piece of selection that made some sense for the first time but only really became a properly good bowler in the summer of 2004, maybe even 2005.
    3) he suffered from injuries which were to some extent self-inflicted. Had he changed the angle of his ankle on his bowling foot then the problems he's had with it would've been vastly reduced, but instead it was decided to leave things as they were.
    4) after his return to the Test side for a year 2008-2009 he wasn't as effective as he had been 2003/04-2006/07, for the same reasons that, however effective he was 2003/04-2006/07, he got precious few five-fors.

    Had he been picked at the right time, changed his action to relieve the stress on the ankle at a young age, and been a bit more willing to experiment with his bowling rather than using the style that served him well enough, I reckon he could've gone down as England's best bowler since Bob Willis. But then the others who go down as such - Angus Fraser, Darren Gough, Andrew Caddick - also have these what-ifs, possibly even more of them.

    But as noted, Flintoff for all his skills never saw himself as a bowler first and foremost. That might well have helped.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    Always be wary of judging a player purely by his stats, as statistically Flintoff is the worst quick bowler to have taken as many wickets as he has.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Only if "worst" means "with the highest Test bowling average".

    Anyway as I've said the idea of "worst player with 220 Test wickets" (or anything similiar) is a ludicrous one with needlessly emotive terminology. Nonetheless, it's a valid question. Is Flintoff the least good Test bowler to take 220 Test wickets?

    I'd say no. For starters he was unquestionably better than his long-time team-mate Matthew Hoggard, who like Flintoff took a long time to get going as a Test bowler having been picked too early. Then there's the small matter of Stephen Harmison and Brett Lee, who I doubt anyone would contend were better. Danish Kaneria doesn't exactly have a fair chance because of the routine inadequacy of his fielders so I'll gladly not make any comparison there. Zaheer Khan? Decent question. Daniel Vettori? Almost impossible comparison for so many reasons. Abdul Qadir? I don't even know enough about him to try to compare. Garry Sobers? Would depend on your POV. Ditto Jacques Kallis.

    Apart from them, I'd not say there was anyone worthy of consideration.

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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Between 2004, the time I believe he became a real test bowler, and the end of his test career, Mr Fintoff took 174 wickets at 28.97.

    A decent average by today's standards, especially for an all-rounder.

  8. #8
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Abdul Qadir?
    Wash your mouth out Richard. He was a wonderful bowler.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Only if "worst" means "with the highest Test bowling average".
    Of quicks with 220 odd wickets, Flintoff is statistically the worst, he's got the worst average, one of, if not the worst strike rate, and fewest 5 wicket hauls.

  10. #10
    School Boy/Girl Cricketer Dano.85's Avatar
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    Flintoff was first picked(in tests) for england as batsman who could bowl a bit. If you go back and look how he was used as a bowler you will see he was 3rd or 4th change give the main strike bowlers a rest bowler. It was his death bowling in odi's that showed england that he had a very good talent with the ball. But fred never classed himself as a bowling allrounder, it was only when his batting went through a bad patch mid career did his bowling seem to get better and better. He has very good stats since 04, but overall as an allrounder his stats are pour, not enough 100s or 5 fors BUT i would have him back in the england team tomorrow as a bowler who can bat a bit.

  11. #11
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    Wash your mouth out Richard. He was a wonderful bowler.
    Maybe he was capable of being a wonderful bowler - I don't doubt for a second he was in fact - but most of the relatively limited comments on him tend to suggest he rather failed to optimise his talents, not entirely through his own fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Then there's the small matter of Stephen Harmison and Brett Lee, who I doubt anyone would contend were better..
    Flintoff better bowler than Lee, dont think so. Lee is without doubt the better ODI bowler, that cannot be argued. Lee has taken 30% more wickets at a lower average than Flintoff, there is no possible way Flintoff is a better test bowler than Lee. I know you are English and like to push your own players but dont get to excited.

  13. #13
    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    Just an overrated bowler, but everyone knows the worst bowler to take 200 wickets was Sobers

  14. #14
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    Why did he prefer batting over bowling? He was no better of a batsman then Mitchell Johnson.

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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
    Flintoff better bowler than Lee, dont think so. Lee is without doubt the better ODI bowler, that cannot be argued. Lee has taken 30% more wickets at a lower average than Flintoff, there is no possible way Flintoff is a better test bowler than Lee. I know you are English and like to push your own players but dont get to excited.
    Lee averages 23 in ODIs, Flintoff averages 24...hardly an earth shattering difference...

    Aside from the fact that the whole argument was that Flintoff is a better bowler than some of those with better stats...you then attempted to disprove this with...stats

    I'd personally take Flintoff over Lee in Tests in a heartbeat, plenty may disagree which is fine but to state it as a matter of fact is a bit silly. And in ODIs I wouldn't say there's much to choose between them, and I don't think there's a better death bowler in that format than Freddie.

    Quote Originally Posted by wfdu_ben91 View Post
    Why did he prefer batting over bowling? He was no better of a batsman then Mitchell Johnson.
    Yeah, um, yeah
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