Gilchrist: 'Flintoff will not repeat Ashes highs'

Veteran Australian 'keeper Adam Gilchrist writes off the threat of England's hero from 2005

England's cunning Ashes plan, it was suggested by their squad announcements on Monday, is to bamboozle Australia with spin at one end while Andrew Flintoff bottles them up at the other. Yesterday Adam Gilchrist, one of the legends whose departure from the Australian team has given England fresh hope, identified a serious flaw in this approach.

Preparing turning tracks, he suggested, was a smart move. Australia, who begin their Ashes tour against Sussex at Hove today, struggle at the crease against spin, and their bowling attack is yet to fill the yawning void left by Shane Warne's retirement. However, Gilchrist felt it was extremely optimistic to put such faith in Flintoff's ravaged body.

"Flintoff to this day is still carrying the effects of the 2005 series," said Gilchrist in reference to the halcyon summer in which England last won the Ashes. "It looks as if he has never really been able to get in his full stride again. It's not a mental thing. I don't think he's one that is all that fazed by expectation and the like, it's physical, his injuries.

"He's not been able to get in his full stride consistently since because of injuries. Having him fit and firing is a big part of England's chances," Gilchrist added. "Every team is reliant on its big players. If [Glenn] McGrath and Warne went missing for us we came back to the field. Now we rely on Ricky Ponting. When he scores a hundred Australia are in a very good position because he scores at good pace. Australia will be relying on Ricky and Mitchell Johnson, for England [Kevin] Pietersen and Flintoff are the big- ticket items."

Gilchrist is one of those few players who changed the nature of Test cricket. For a wicketkeeper-batsman to score 5,570 runs at an average of 47.60 is impressive enough; to score at 82 runs per hundred balls was phenomenal. In 2005 Flintoff had his measure. Gilchrist averaged less than 23 and Flintoff took his wicket four times in nine innings.

"He is so awkward to face as a left-hander," Gilchrist said (four of Australia's likely top six this summer are left-handed bats). "It's his physicality, his angle of attack, his height. I admire his controlled aggression. He's in your face but not recklessly so. He creates an aura of control, even if you get a good shot away he has that look in his eye, and a demeanour, that suggests it is all part of a big plan. Warne and McGrath – they had the same quality. When I have faced Flintoff since he can still get his weaponry to that level. It's just he's not been able to do it consistently."

At least Flintoff should play some part in the series. Warne will be watching from the commentary box. "[Replacing Warne] has been the team's greatest difficulty and it was always going to be the case," Gilchrist said. So much so the prospect of Australia relying on batsmen who bowl some spin has been raised but Gilchrist said: "I think they will need a full-time spin bowler. Nathan Hauritz is here and I hope they give him the opportunity." Gilchrist is asked whether he is the best. There is a long pause, then he replies: "I thought Bryce McGain was going to be the one prior to the last Test in South Africa but it was not that great." McGain went for eight an over in 18 wicketless overs.

"He lost confidence and the selectors lost confidence in him." South Africa's Paul Harris took 9 for 161 in that Test and Gilchrist admitted: "Spinners have been pretty effective against Australia for a long while, really, so it will be interesting if England focus their attack on the turning ball when four years ago it was the swinging ball which demolished us."

Nevertheless, Gilchrist is optimistic following Australia's 2-1 series win in South Africa. "That group really surprised me and I'm very much encouraged. I'm also encouraged listening to Ricky. His enthusiasm is exceptional. In the past he's been criticised for not moulding a team. Well, he's neither needed, nor had the chance, to do it before. He has the chance to develop this group and I think he is really excited by it. He wants to leave that legacy of formulating a team out of this fresh start."

Gilchrist will deliver the ninth MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's this evening. He intends to speak not on batsmen walking, for which he is noted but which he does not consider a major issue, but on the place of Twenty20. Though he retired from international cricket last year, he led the Deccan Chargers to IPL success last month. He said: "Twenty20 is here, it is dangerous to ignore it. We have to look at how cricket can use it."

Adam Gilchrist was speaking to promote Sky Sports' exclusively live and high definition coverage of the Ashes

Ashes watch

14 days to go:

The Aussies were bemused at the omission of Michael Vaughan. "It is a shame he will not be playing," Brett Lee said. "He seems to get runs when it matters most."

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil