Flintoff is finally ready for his comeback. The only thing, don't put any pressure on him, says Michael Vaughan:
"I don't want to put him under any more pressure than
the media has already. He just needs to be able to bowl like he can,
hopefully whack it like he does, and try to get his performance level
to where it was before. But 18 months is a long time out. It might take
him a little time to adjust."
England still seem
unclear how to use Flintoff in Friday's match, though it is probable
that he will replace Paul Collingwood, thus limiting England to only
five specialist batsmen. And here is the first question: is a man who
is averaging 22 in first-class cricket this season going to leave
England vulnerable, especially on a ground where Flintoff has
previously recorded four straight ducks?
On the other hand, consider the pressure the Saffer batsmen were under in their second innings. That's what Test cricket is all about. Here's King Cricket:
We were hugely, hugely impressed with Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie
in the Lord’s Test. We don’t care what the pitch was like - just
imagine coming out to bat after you’ve been so comprehensively trampled
for three days. Imagine what would have happened to England in the same
Beaten men play crap cricket. These pair summoned some almighty
resolve to do what they did. Playing one beautiful shot is easy -
that’s a one-off. Playing virtually no stupid shots for an entire day
is quite another. You can’t fluke that. That is near-superhuman
And speaking of pressue, when will Mark Ramprakash score his 100th 100? When no one is looking? Third Umpire has a county roundup.
Finally, and by no means least, the Pura Cup has become the Sheffield Shield once again. They actually had to rebuild the shield itself, or was it just a planned restoration?