Monday 9 June 2014

The Ballad of Freddy and Sammy

Freddy Flintoff is attempting a comeback to county representative cricket, he says for the joy of the game. Darren Sammy has just retired from Test cricket, he says because the selectors won't pick him. I say bully for Freddy and boo to Sammy.

One of the many things I like about Greg Matthews is that he says he has never retired. If they want to pick him, he's fit and ready to play.

I'm a fan of Darren Sammy. I never had any problem seeing why they kept picking him and I would see no problem with continuing to pick him. He's not much of a bowler, but over a long period he's consistently been the third or fourth best the West Indies have had at the time. He can't really bat, I wouldn't rely on him, but every now and again he goes off, at least as frequently and successfully as you could reasonably expect from your number eight. He can field, he conducts himself well in public, he looks cool, and he might as well captain the side. I don't see a problem.

But they dropped him. Meh. Maybe they had to, maybe they'll regret it. But, apparently, Darren's not hanging around to find out. None of this going back to first class cricket and putting the performances on the board for Mr Sammy. No sir. He's read the paper. He's not good enough. Goes to show no good comes from reading the paper.

It is a shame for West Indies cricket, though.

Surely Sammy of all people understands the value of selection pressure and the importance of competition for places to the good health of a cricket team. It would be better if he had returned quietly to first class cricket and gave every other player in the West Indies the impression that if they wanted to get into the Test team they'd need to be shit-hot to get past him, whether he believed it true or not. I don't see how it is helping anyone to go holding up his little cardboard sign, no matter how passive aggressive he wants to be about it.

Meanwhile in England Flintoff is getting sage advice from has-beens and never-weres that maybe he ought to think twice, that maybe he's not good enough any more, indeed that maybe 'the game has moved on' in such a way that it is now unfathomable to poor old Fred. Ridiculous.

He had the talent, and so he still has the talent. He's the age that most decent players are still running around. Even mediocre cricketers commonly play well past age 36 in county cricket. Not just those loafing batsmen, either.

Bowlers playing past their mid-thirties include seriously quick bowlers like Lee and Nannes. There is no reason that a 36-year-old cannot condition his body to bowl fast medium. He's had a nice long rest.

It strikes me that some of the nay-saying going on has something to do with not spoiling the legend. Lets face it the poms think of 2005 the way older men recall that one great root they had in their twenties. Its an image not to be sullied.

The good news is that these romantic fools have nothing to concern themselves over. There is no need to worry that Fred is going to bespoil his exalted status now – he's been working on that for years! He's been there, done that and made it into a television show.

The lad can play though. Just let him play.

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