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."

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee