Friday, March 23, 2007

Yours is no Disgrace

There's a well known journalistic trick, whereby you pose a false proposition early on in the article and then spend the rest of the article knocking it down in order to make your case and justify your argument.

The propostion that Simon Hattenstone poses in this Guardian article is that Andrew Flintoff has become a national disgrace - and by definition, those of us who censure him for his pedalo antics are being hypocritical because we were happy to laugh at his drunken behaviour after the 2005 series, and are now critical of him for doing exactly the same thing in the West Indies.

I'd say the national response (if there is such a thing) is more subtle than that. Without trying to sound too much like a censorious teacher, I'd suggest that we're annoyed with Freddie because he's let us, and himself down - and, more importantly, because we fear that his drinking antics are going to detract from his effectiveness on the cricket field.

We waited eighteen years for someone to come along who could stand up to the Australians for us - look them in the eye and not blink. Glory be, in 2005 Flintoff did just that - but now we see that he's on the road to pissing all the talent down the drain, and we'll end up with a shell of a player whereas before there was a world-beater.

Ian Botham has adopted similar line to Hattenstone, along the lines of 'drinking never hurt me, therefore let him carry on drinking'. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but after the 1986/87 tour Botham was a total shadow of his former self - partly through injury, but partly, I'd suggest, because he body finally rebelled against the excessive revellry and lack of sleep. Hattenstone quotes Beefy saying that 'sleep is overrated'. Oh, ha bloody ha... how terribly radical and extreme. Let's encourage all our professional sportsmen to stay up all night on the lash, and then see how well they do the next morning.

Hopefully, losing the vice-captaincy has been the wake-up call that Flintoff needs to bring him to his senses. However, I have a little nagging feeling that it won't. I fear that some of his so called mates (that means you Steve Harmison, judging by this article) will tell him not to worry, that the Fletcher response has been a terrible overreaction, and that Freddie should just carry on as he is now.

If that happens it'll be the Australians who'll have the last laugh, and a generation of English supporters will never forgive Flintoff.

1 comment:

Sreeram said...

True. But whatever the deal it would possibly help England to bury all this and concentrate on getting Freddie and the rest of the team firing for the rest of the cup.

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