Andrew Flintoff, MBE (born 6 December 1977), nicknamed Freddie Flintoff, is a professional boxer and former English cricketer who played for Lancashire County Cricket Club, Chennai Super Kings and England. Since retiring from cricket, Flintoff has become a broadcaster and professional boxer.
A tall (6' 4") fast bowler, batsman and slip fielder, Flintoff was consistently rated by the ICC as being among the top international allrounders in both ODI and Test cricket. Following his debut in 1998, Flintoff became an integral player for England, serving as both captain and vice-captain of the team. However, he suffered regular injuries throughout his international career, often due to his heavy frame and bowling action. During the period 2007–09 he played in only 13 of England's 36 Test matches, but nevertheless remained a core member of the England squad, being selected whenever available.
On 15 July 2009 he announced his retirement from Test cricket at the conclusion of the 2009 Ashes series, on 24 August, but made himself available for future commitments in One Day International and Twenty20 International matches. It was reported on 7 September 2009 that Flintoff has developed deep vein thrombosis after surgery to his knee. On 16 September 2010, he announced his retirement from all cricket. He made his professional boxing debut on 30 November 2012 in Manchester, beating American Richard Dawson on a points decision.
Early years: criticism, injury and fitness troubles
Flintoff was captain of the England Under-19 team for their "Test" match tour to Pakistan in 1996/7 and at home against Zimbabwe in 1997. He made his Test match debut for England in 1998 against South Africa at Trent Bridge, in a match remembered for its second-innings duel between Mike Atherton and Allan Donald; in a precursor to their subsequent all-round rivalry, Flintoff and Jacques Kallis exchanged wickets. Nonetheless, his struggle to make the grade at county level continued, he found form only intermittently, though often explosively when he did so. In 2000 he hit 135 not out in the Quarter-finals of the Natwest Trophy against Surrey, which David Gower described as "the most awesome innings we are ever going to see on a cricket field". In the same year England's management made clear they were unhappy with his fitness and weight, Flintoff responded to his critics with 42 not out in a one day game against Zimbabwe on his home ground of Old Trafford, forming an explosive second wicket stand with Graeme Hick; as he collected the Man of the Match award he remarked his performance was "not bad for a fat lad". Though he lost his England place during 2001, he remodelled his bowling action and gained a place on the 2001–02 tour to India. Though he hit possibly his worst international batting form during the Test series, frustrating him to the point that he broke down in tears in the dressing room at one stage, he later saw the tour as a turning point in his career, specifically the crucial final one-day match. Entrusted with bowling the final over with India needing 11 to win, he ran out Anil Kumble and bowled Javagal Srinath with successive balls to win the match, taking off his shirt in celebration, which was mimicked by Sourav Ganguly in a later match.