Gilchrist: Flintoff best in world
Australia vice-captain Adam Gilchrist has hailed Andrew Flintoff as the “best in the world” after England’s man of the series put in a string of impressive performances to help bring home the Ashes.
The Lancashire all-rounder scored 402 runs and was England’s leading wicket-taker with 24 but those figures do not do justice to the influence he had and Gilchrist acknowledged that.
“Flintoff is the best in the world at the moment, no doubt about that,” said the wicket-keeper/batsman.
“Any captain would want him in the team. He has really fulfilled every part of his potential and all we can do and sit back and pay him the respect he deserves for an absolutely world-class performance sustained over seven weeks.”
Although criticism is growing in Australia over the team’s performance - the legendary Dennis Lillee has already called for Shane Warne to be installed as captain - Gilchrist said there should not be any knee-jerk reaction.
“I have no reason to believe there should be any change in the leadership. Ricky’s position has come under a bit of scrutiny but I think Ricky has the support of everyone involved,” he told Radio Five Live after touching down in Perth following a 20-hour flight from London.
“Shane is a wonderful cricketer and I’m sure he has all the attributes of a good captain, he has a good cricket mind and he helps Ricky a lot.
“He kept us alive in the series and without him it would have been well and truly over long before The Oval.”
Gilchrist admitted that although the team were hugely disappointed by the defeat they intended to turn things around by the time England toured Australia in the winter of 2006.
“I said I didn’t particularly want to be in a side which handed back the Ashes but that is the reality and life goes on,” he added.
“Hopefully we will only let them have them for 18 months.”