Flintoff passes baton to Broad
Andrew Flintoff predicts Stuart Broad could eclipse his own magical feats as a talisman for English cricket.
However, he insists it is unfair to compare the 23-year-old, whose electrifying five-wicket haul against Australia at the Brit Oval set up England’s Ashes triumph, with either himself or legendary all-rounder Sir Ian Botham.
Flintoff believes Broad, man of the match in the final Test, is such a talented player that he could bat high up the order for England, even suggesting he could do a job at number three.
“He is very different,” said Flintoff. “The one thing that has impressed me about Stuart is that it is not just on the field the way he has come to the forefront in pressure situations.
“You forget how young he is - the music he puts on shows it sometimes in the dressing room. However, he is only 23. He has had critics throughout the series. What was everybody else doing at 22 or 23?
"He is playing the most intense cricket against the best team in the world at the highest level at such a young age. When you compare that to a doctor or a surgeon, these people wait until they are 40 or 50 to be the best in their field.
"You are asking a young kid to come along at that age and be the best. So far he is living up to it, but I reckon for the next 10 years we are going to see the best of Stuart Broad.
"It is unfair to compare him to myself or Botham. Let's just let him progress and if you do that you will see a very exciting and great career ahead of him.
"He's better than me in a lot of ways. He's not the finished article but he has huge potential. He could bat at number three in the future."
Flintoff, who called it a day after 79 Tests following Sunday's win over Australia, underwent an operation on his problem right knee last night in a bid to energise a one-day international career.
His ambition is to become the best one-day player in the world, although it is unclear what sort of an international contract he might command.
Flintoff is still contracted to Lancashire for another year, although with recuperation from surgery it is likely to be a flexible arrangement.
Flintoff said: "The contract has changed a little bit in the fact that I'm not going to be available for four-day cricket and I’ve said to the club, ‘If I need a game before a one-day series, do you mind if I have a go?’.
“And I've offered my services if they are struggling through injury or going for a title. I'll pop in for the odd game.
“‘Rooster’ (Dave Roberts, Flintoff's physio) is getting married on Saturday, so that's the next biggest day in my life. Beefy (Ian Botham) is best man and I'm a page boy, which is quite fitting.”