He is not the most professional cricketer around, but former England captain Michael Vaughan says talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is second only to Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to lifting his team and the fans.
“At Cardiff, on the first day of the Ashes series, the atmosphere was dead for the first few hours but then all of a sudden Freddie came to the crease and the whole ground was lifted. It was phenomenal and no other player in world cricket - apart from Sachin Tendulkar - has that ability,” Vaughan wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
“He was a great player to captain. He could be difficult at times, because he is not the most professional cricketer, but with Fred you accept the whole package,” he added.
Flintoff will bid adieu to Test cricket after the fifth and final Ashes Test starting tomorrow at The Oval.
Vaughan said he always knew that Flintoff is a star but he came to realise the all-rounder’s true impact on English cricket only after interacting with fans post-retirement.
“As England captain I had an awareness of how much Fred could lift the supporters, but the real significance of that did not sink in until this summer when I have sat in the crowd and seen at first hand his popularity,” he revealed.