"He's very much two players in one - as I've always said."Alright, so they're talking about his all-rounder skills even though his batting is perhaps a little over-rated, but the latest in the Freddie story is that apparently he might miss the World Twenty20. Because we didn't already think exactly that. How was anyone expecting him to come off yet another surgery and go straight into the tournament? It's ludicrous. Clearly with Freddie, you can't have him for everything. You need to do some good old-fashioned rationing.
And the most important place for him is the Ashes, so that's where you can expect him to go, before yet another body part breaks down.
At some stage he's just going to malfunction completely. England have to be prepared for it, because every time he falls to an injury, there seems to be a period of panic in which they cannot fathom how they will go on without him, because everyone knows just how many wickets he takes. The reliance on Flintoff within the English team is slowly morphing into a mental one, rather than one based on his actual abilities. It's good to have a player like that in the team, one who instils a sense of hope in others and motivates them into thinking they can actually succeed, but sooner or later the penny's going to drop. And then English cricket will go on without him.
Freddie will be the phantom, the legend, to live on in the minds of children for centuries to come. His achievements will be spoken of in an awed tone, and he'll be that golden boy for cricket.
That is what you'd think would happen, anyway. Meanwhile, in the here and now, he probably wont' make it for the T20 Cup or whatever it is. But he thinks he'll be there for the Ashes:
"I'd love to play in the Twenty20 - but that might be too tight. I had an operation two weeks ago and I'm already off my crutches. The Ashes are a long way off - and I'll be fine for them."
Everyone always thinks they're a long way off, because the darn series creeps up on you. Last I remember, it's still 2007 and we just crushed the poor fellows. Much has changed since then.
"I now grow extremely surprised everytime I catch the ball."