Fast bowler, six-hitter, popular hero, one of the lads, King of the Jungle – Andrew Flintoff is all of those things, and a whole lot more.
Who can forget the hero of England’s 2005 Ashes-winning team; the captain who endured humiliating defeat in Australia in 2006-07; the maverick whose encounter with a pedalo in the 2007 World Cup brought all the wrong headlines; the competitor who fought off injury to help regain the Ashes in 2009; the TV performer always looking for a new challenge?
But through all his highs and lows, triumphs and reversals, there has been a central tension in his life. There is ‘Fred’ – entertainer, extrovert, centre of attention. Then there is ‘Andrew’ – reflective, withdrawn and uncertain. Two people contained in one extraordinary life. And sometimes, inevitably, keeping the two in balance proves impossible.
Now, in Second Innings, he reveals the unseen sides of his career and personality: the complex and troubled relationship with discipline, excess and authority; the search for an authentic voice as a player, free from the blandness and conformity of modern professionalism; the restless need to push himself that led him to take up professional boxing and, in an even more unexpected twist, to return to the cricket field.
At ease with his faults as well as his gifts, Andrew Flintoff displays characteristic humour and often startling honesty as he takes the reader backstage to witness the mischief and adventure that have defined his story, and, above all, to experience the enduring power of fun, friendship and loyalty – the pillars of his remarkable career.