Ponting welcomes Freddie distraction
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:A Flintoff, RT Ponting
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 16th July 2009


Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said his side can benefit from this Ashes turning into an Andrew Flintoff roadshow.


All-rounder Flintoff retired from Test cricket at the end of this current campaign and this could disrupt England's focus in the remaining matches of the npower series.


The all-rounder will have his fitness checked on Wednesday morning ahead of the second Test at Lord's.


If his knee stands up to its testing, Flintoff will be playing his last Test at Lord's, which in itself could be potentially distracting for the hosts.


"For us, knowing the stature he has in the game in England then I can see it turning into that," said Ponting.


"Whenever he plays a game you get the feeling of the crowd getting involved and loving seeing him play.


"You can see the fans here are very passionate about watching Andrew Flintoff.


"If they know this is his last chance to play here, his last chance to play Edgbaston, and last chance to play Headingley, I am sure there will be a bit of a circus around.


"It could be good for us if that is the case. It could create some distractions but that is not for us to worry about.


"I have been in teams when it has happened and it can be a distraction not only for the person involved but for the captain as well."


Australia also handled a similar situation during the 2002-03 Ashes series when Steve Waugh was on the verge of walking away.


"They're probably similar sort of figures in either side, culturally as well," said Ponting. "Everyone in Australia loved everything about Steve Waugh, the way he played and the way he led the side.


"We talked long and hard before that first Test match about what we could do to ensure it didn't turn out to be a long farewell tour - but, as hard as we tried, sure enough it became very heavily focused on everything he did."


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