He is first known as one of England’s best cricketers. Not only was he handy with the bat, but he was a very talented fast bowler and as a fielder in the slip. He ended his career holding some tremendous records – the third highest English wicket-taker in one-day international cricket (168 wickets), 13th highest in Test cricket (219 wickets), the most sixes scored for England (68) and only one of seven players to be named on both the batting and bowling honour boards at Lords. Pretty outstanding.
Following his retirement, he had a brief boxing career, then began a media career, appearing as a commentator on several programs. He then took it to the next level and became the undisputed ‘King of the Jungle’ winning the first series of the Australian show ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here!’ in 2015.
And then he helped me fall in love with the Big Bash.
When I decided to spend a bit more time watching the Big Bash this year, I didn’t think it would turn into a full blown obsession. My nights are now spent on the couch (or at Spotless Stadium or the SCG) watching the latest offering, I’m playing Big Bash Fantasy, have found myself using hashtags like #madetough, #turnuptheheat, #thundernation and have developed a fondness for 2 very orange mascots named Blazer and Amber. It has, of course, helped that the Sydney Thunder are doing so well, having won their first three games.
The Big Bash is truly an entertainment concept – music, fireworks and lights. Then there is the commentary. I absolutely love having players miked up on the field (who knew KP was funny) but even more, I love listening to Freddie Flintoff in the commentary box. Once my family learnt how to decipher his accent he had us laughing all through the game.
My mum, who generally doesn’t even watch cricket said, ‘where has this guy popped up from?’. I then told her ‘um, he hasn’t just popped up, he is one of England’s best ever cricketers’. He has won over my entire family – particularly when he is making fun of Mark Waugh’s hair.
Flintoff is a very good example of what the Big Bash is meant to be – entertaining!
Not only that – but he is a champion off the field too.
Last night, there was a large group of fans waiting for Flintoff to finish his media commitments at the end of the game between the Adelaide Strikers and the Sydney Thunder. The fans waited a pretty long time – at least 40 minutes following the end of the game.
Flintoff made his way to the crowd and signed autographs, took photos and was clearly enjoying spending some time with his (many) adoring fans.
This is what I love. Players that recognise their tremendous power and influence and then take the opportunity to give back to the most important people of all, the fans. I was very surprised at how long Freddie stayed back – but I was not surprised at the epic smiles on all the faces around me (or the epic smile on my face).
So well done Freddie – it’s great to see that you are not only a champion on the field, but off it too.
Now isn’t it time we crowned Freddie undisputed King of the BBL commentators too?
Ladies who Legspin xxx
P.S. And then… there was this: