Moores hails 'role model' Andrew Flintoff

Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 12:13 [IST]
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London: England coach Peter Moores believes Andrew Flintoff's desire to make up for lost time has helped his side demolish South Africa in the current one-day series.

Flintoff has played a key role in England's surge to a 4-0 lead over the South Africans with 187 runs and nine wickets.

The 30-year-old all rounder, sidelined for over a year with ankle and side strain injuries, sealed Sunday's win at Lord's with an unbeaten 31 off just 12 balls.

Moores, whose side faces South Africa one last time at Cardiff on Wednesday, is convinced Flintoff's superb form is the culmination of months of hard work returning from a fourth operation on his left ankle - and a determination to hit the heights he reached during the 2005 Ashes series.

"Fred has come in there, he knows he's missed a lot of cricket, he's excited about playing again and he's working very hard," Moores said.

"He's scored runs but he was the first in the nets again working on different aspects of his batting. That is exciting because as a leader for everybody else that's going to take other people along - he's loving his cricket, which is great for everybody.

"I think for lots of players injuries make you realise that what you had was something special and you want it back because it's a great buzz."

Having made his mark on the pitch, Flintoff has also made his contribution to the dressing room and emerged as a surprise role model to the younger players in England's one-day squad.

Once the butt of criticism for his antics away from cricket, including the infamous pedalo episode during the World Cup in St Lucia, Flintoff has evolved into an ideal senior player among the current regime.

"He has presence as a man," Moores said. "There are people who you know believe totally in themselves and that they're going to win the game.

"On the field you'll see his passion and his enthusiasm to want to play but also that is linked in with a calmness which is what you need to win things.

"When it gets tight he takes a deep breath and delivers his skills. Sides need their experienced players to know what's going to happen who have been around the block and they can keep things calm when you need to deliver.

"Fred has got that balance and it's been great to watch him operate because you can see him loving every minute of it. Great players play well themselves but they also make other people play well and that's the role you want from your senior players.

"He's obviously a very good cricketer but what we are seeing is a bloke who is mature. Around the dressing room he's in great form.

"He's calm, very committed and I think with him in that sort of role for the young players he's a fantastic role model to have because a lot of playing sport at the top level is handling it and just taking it on the chin.

"The one thing Fred has done really well has been to support Kevin and every captain needs his senior players to work with him and he's done that really well.

"Fred was ready to come back and take all he knew about international cricket and all he's learned about life and come back and be ready to make a difference and he's done that."


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