Andrew Flintoff became the most feared all-rounder of his generation during an action-packed international career.
Early on he became known as “Freddie” within the Lancashire ranks, a nickname which stuck throughout his career, and his reputation grew within the county game to such an extent he made his Test debut aged just 20 against South Africa in 1998.
David Lloyd, who was now England coach, had enough faith in the young all-rounder he included him in the 1999 World Cup squad on home soil, a campaign which ended in bitter disappointment when the hosts crashed out of the tournament at the first stage.
Flintoff struggled to establish himself at international level during the next few years with injuries interrupting his progress, but he made a breakthrough in the winter of 2001-2 when he helped England draw the one-day series in India and then claimed his maiden Test Century against New Zealand in Christchurch.
He was given great credit for knuckling down and sorting out fitness issues and between 2003 and 2005 produced his most memorable and consistent performances on the international stage. He won man-of-the-series award after scoring a century and three 50s in the drawn Test series against South Africa in 2003, excelled during the tour to West Indies that winter with five wickets in Barbados and a century in Antigua.
Ankle problems curtailed his summer but he recovered sufficiently to lead England to Australia, where they suffered a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash although they bounced back to win the one-day triangular series under his leadership.
But it was the toll of further injuries and yet another knee operation in the early stages of 2009 which convinced him to take a long look at his career and he made the decision to retire from Test cricket at the end of that summer’s Ashes series.
He still had enough determination to deliver one of the most memorable bowling displays in recent years to help England win a rare Ashes Test at Lord’s and he bowed out with victory at the Oval,
Another knee operation shortly after the final Test of 2009 sidelined him for the best part of a year and on 16 September 2010 Flintoff retired from all forms of professional cricket, having consulted with medical advisors.
Cricket Academy -
The Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy was established in 2008 and by the end of this year over 150 Academies will have hosted nearly 10,000 boys and girls so far. With over 50 venues nationwide and abroad the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy has grown into a highly respected and essential part of a young cricketer’s journey. Cricket has given me so much, and I want to pass on my passion of the game to as many youngsters as I can." - Andrew Flintoff