I’ve written about cricket writers writing about Andrew Flintoff before, so this, to me, has a giddyingly reflexive feel.
After last week’s tumultuous demolition of the Windies, England are preparing for the second test. This gives both Derek Pringle in the Telegraph and Mike Selvey in the Guardian the excuse to write glowing reports of Flintoff’s maturation from being the blacksmith’s son to being the blacksmith himself.
Flintoff, as Selvey correctly deduces, has become the heartbeat of the team; the carthorse that also provides the gallops.
One phrase from Flintoff really caught my eye. In Selvey’s report, he says of the slip-catching:
“Well, we are holding on to a few,” he said. “With players such as the West Indies have, you can’t afford to give them two chances. It is something at which we have worked hard and emphasised.”
Did the farmer’s lad really say “something at which we have worked hard“? I detect the journalist’s punctilious syntactical manners at work here. It would just be too delightful if Flintoff is not only maturing into a cricketer of legendary proportions, but constructing sentences the end of which he knows at their beginning.