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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells