Burnout! I beg your pardon, says Flintoff

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:While every other player is complaining of a cricket overkill, Andrew Flintoff, the man who has single handedly revived England's fortune, appears indifferent and instead of resting, is keeping himself busy with a number of off-field assignments.

England are to host Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the summer before heading down under to defend the Ashes followed by Champions Trophy and the all important World Cup next year. But Freddie insists he does not fear burnout irrespective of a gruelling 18-month schedule.

''There is going to be a lot happening over the next 18 months but we cannot afford to look too far ahead of ourselves,'' Freddie was quoted as saying by The Mirror.

''I rested for the last three one-dayers in India and now I am feeling pretty good and quite fresh. I will be getting back into cricket over the next week or so but for now I am just keeping it ticking over in the gym.'' Soon after returning from the energy-sapping tour of India just a fortnight ago, Flintoff has even found time to squeeze in filming for Ready Steady Freddie, a slot he will host on new Sky Sports programme on Cricket.

The Ready Steady Freddie slot will feature Flintoff conducting a series of challenges against leading sportsmen and includes boxing with Ricky Hatton and playing darts against Phil 'The Power' Taylor.

However, the extra commitments are certain to raise concerns that Flintoff is taking on too heavy a workload after shouldering much of the burden for the England side over the past year.

''I have really enjoyed it to be honest. It has been great to meet different sports people and see how they go about doing their business,'' he said.

The meteoric rise in his stardom has failed to change the man and he insists he is same old Freddie.

''There is a lot more attention on us that is how things have really changed over the past year. There is more recognition and the profile is higher.

''But the important things have not changed, not for me anyway. I still like going for a pint and going to the horse racing with my mates, that will always stay the same,'' the all-rounder who ended the mighty Aussie dominance on the Ashes urn said.

On how Vaughan's men will defend the urn down under, Freddie says, ''I am just thinking about the First Test against Sri Lanka and I know that while everyone on the outside will be looking ahead to the Ashes, we will not be getting carried away.'' Flintoff is likely to carry the burden of captaincy too with Michael Vaughan struggling to be fit to face the Sri Lankans.

''I have loved doing it but I want Vaughan back as soon as possible,'' said Flintoff.

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