London, Oct 12 (IANS) Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff has revealed that he felt a lack of drive in his bid to excel in the Indian Preimer League (IPL) due the absence of “emotional attachment”.
The burly all-rounder was picked for a whopping $1.5 million by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the 2009 edition when the Englishman played only three matches before returning home with an injury. He said that even though he earned a lot of money, he was not able to relate to the IPL because of the lack of any adrenaline rush. “When I played in the Indian Premier League, when I played that stupid Allen Stanford game in 2008 (West Indies beat England to take the 12.4 million pounds prize), I realised something central about my relationship with cricket, about getting the best out of myself. I don’t play for money. I’m not sure I even can play just for money. Money is great, I can’t lie about that,” Flintoff wrote in a column for the Daily Mail on Sunday.
“But when I played for Chennai in the IPL in 2009, I couldn’t name everyone in my own team and coaching staff. I remember standing in the middle of the field, in a yellow kit, and my body was sore and hurting, as usual, but I just couldn’t put everything on the line for Chennai. It’s not a reflection on them. It’s simply that the team didn’t mean so much to me,” the 37-year-old added. “The IPL? Nah. I’d always reckoned I could turn on adrenaline. But I can see now that I couldn’t. There had to be an emotional attachment to what I was doing. And it had to matter, which is why the one constant was always my county, Lancashire.”
Flintoff, who played 79 Tests and 141 One-day Internationals (ODIs), said he has always thrived for the teams which his heart has asked him to. “Even for England, if I went in to bat against Zimbabwe with 400 already on the board, I’d be 21, telling myself, ‘Come on, get up for it.’ But something deeper would say, ‘No, this is pointless.’ Same with being a mercenary. I just couldn’t get into it,” said Flintoff, who played crucial role in England’s 2005 Ashes series victory over Australia.
“Ambition is a funny thing. In cricket, as in many professions, it tends to take you on a journey away from where you started. That’s fine, maybe inevitable. But no one ever tells you that the biggest days aren’t always the best days. And the richest prizes aren’t the ones you remember.” “I won some winners’ medals with Lancashire — a NatWest trophy and a couple of Sunday Leagues. But I desperately wanted to win the County Championship and also to win at Lord’s with them one more time. Because those were the best days. And I could never have had too many with Lancashire. That’s not nostalgia, just the truth,” he concluded.