Andrew Flintoff ranks only behind the legendary Sir Ian Botham in the list of the greatest all-rounders England has ever produced and a mere glimpse at his career proves that he was an all-rounder in the truest sense of the word. Flintoff, who turned 39 today, has remained in the public eye even after his cricketing career thanks largely to a flourishing TV career and he’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Though not as diverse as South Africa’s AB de Villiers, Flintoff ventured into various professions, since announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2010 due to a serious knee injury, including one as a professional boxer, a reality television star and even having a go at baseball among other things before making a comeback to the game in 2014 signing up to represent his boyhood club Lancashire in the Twenty2o format.
He signed on the dotted line to represent Brisbane Heat in 2014-15 Big Bash League and though he failed to replicate the magic that saw him being constantly ranked amongst the top all-rounders of his generation, he did manage to have a lot of fun at the home of his old adversary, Australia.
While the 2006 Ashes series Down Under which England lost 5-0 under his captaincy will forever remain a blot in Flintoff’s career, the preceding Ashes series was the one that truly;y heralded the burly cricketer into legendary status.
He emerged as the leading wicket-taker for England with 24 scalps while also scoring 402 runs with the bat to help the hosts secure a memorable triumph at home against their arch-rivals. The series saw fierce cricket being played by the two sides and Flintoff, in particular, was not one to shy away from a good word or two.
He mellowed down no doubt during his final days as a cricketer, especially after his comeback, and as seen in a video released by Sky Sports where Flintoff is seen impersonating the great Elvis Presley during a contest in Big Bash Season 4, we now know that he was taking his initial steps towards TV stardom.
While not everyone is impressed with various on-field innovations in the BBL like the buttoned mic for the players through which they interact with the commentators, popular English commentator David Lloyd put the technology to best use from an entertainment point of view requesting Flintoff to dish out an Elvis Presley number. He happily obliged singing the hit number ‘In the ghetto’ which no doubt brought tons of laughter to Lloyd and the millions watching on television.
While the song proved to be one of Elvis’ greatest hits propelling him on a comeback trail, the BBL 04’ proved to be Flintoff’s last tournament as a cricketer as he called it quits for the second and last time after the competition ended. He is however on a roll as a popular TV artist and will no doubt be in the commentary team for the upcoming season of the BBL as well where one hopes he might once again give the audience a big laugh with impersonations like these.Published 06 Dec 2016, 13:48 IST