England needs Flintoff’s ‘aura’ to win Ashes 2009, says Gilchrist

June 24th, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by ANI  

London, June 24 (ANI): Former Australian vice captain Adam Gilchrist, who was acknowledged as the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman in the history of the game, has said that he struggled to regain confidence in his batting after the battering he took from Andrew Flintoff four years ago, and “the seeds of doubt” that were planted in his mind took 12 months to settle down.

Gilchrist believes that Flintoff has paid a steep price for his heroics in that series. Whether it was the after-effects of bowling 14 overs off the reel to halt Australia’s charge at the Oval, or whether the never-ending spin cycle of the international game has caught up with him.

“To this day, Flintoff is still carrying the after-effects. Watching from a distance, it seems that he has never been able to get into a full stride again,” The Telegraph quoted Gilchrist, as saying.

“On the occasions when I have faced him since, he still had that unique something that makes him so awkward, especially for a left-hander. But it’s a physical thing now. He has been restricted by his injuries.”

If there was one image that summed up the ferocity of England’s attack in that series, it was that of Flintoff coming around the wicket at Gilchrist, The Telegraph reports.

“Every team relies on its big players. When Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath went missing for us, we came back to the field. And this summer, you would say that Australia will be relying on Ricky Ponting and Mitchell Johnson, while England have Kevin Pietersen and Flintoff. They are the big-ticket items,” Gilchrist said.

“What I admire about Flintoff is that he is in your face but not recklessly so. And he just creates the aura that he’s in control. Whether you nick one through the slips or you get a good shot away, he still has this look in his eyes and his demeanour suggests that it’s all part of a big plan.

“I’ve been fortunate to see that sort of aura at close range with a Warne or a McGrath, who generally exude those qualities, and Freddie is similar,” he added. (ANI)

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