Wasim Akram was one of my heroes, he played a massive part in my career: Andrew Flintoff

Wasim Akram was one of my heroes, he played a massive part in my career: Andrew Flintoff

Playing for Lancashire, Freddie learned that art of reverse-swing from Akram.

Andrew Flintoff and Wasim Akram
Andrew Flintoff and Wasim Akram. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Andrew Flintoff, the former England all-rounder, lavished praises on Wasim Akram, the legendary Pakistan fast bowler. Freddie called Akram one of his heroes and someone he drew inspiration from during his playing days. Wasim, popularly known as the ‘Sultan of Swing’ among his fans, retired 17 years ago and yet is the all-time highest wicket-taker for the country.

Having picked 916 wickets in 460 games for Pakistan, the left-arm pacer can be deemed as one of the all-time greats as well. Flintoff said that he had the privilege of playing alongside Akram in England’s county cricket. Playing for Lancashire, Freddie learned the art of getting the ball to reverse.

Wasim had a massive part in my career: Andrew Flintoff

“I played with Wasim Akram at Lancashire when I was 16 years of age. He was one of my heroes and someone I looked up to so much,” Flintoff was quoted as saying in Talk Sport’s podcast with Shoaib Akhtar, another former Pakistan speedster.

“Wasim took me under his wing and I spent so much time with him. I used to field at slip when he was bowling. I used to pick up all these tips of reverse swing and thumb positions. I think my action also landed itself towards reverse swing as well. Wasim had a massive part in my career,” the 42-year-old Flintoff added.

In the meantime, Shoaib was also pretty appreciative of Flintoff, referring him as a genuine match-winner. “He was a great competitor and could win matches for England single-handedly. We thoroughly enjoyed playing against him,” Akhtar said.

As per Akhtar, Pakistan got a glimpse of Flintoff in 1998 and the latter clobbered off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq for ginormous sixes. The brutal display of stroke-play scared the Men in Green, who realised that Freddie is one for the future.

In his career, Flintoff played 79 Tests, 141 ODIs and seven T20Is in which he scored 3,845, 3,394 and 76 runs respectively. For the Three Lions, the Preston-born also went on to pick up 400 wickets with 17 four-wicket hauls and five fifers.

His international career spanned 11 years from 1998 to 2009. Flintoff last played competitive cricket for the Brisbane Heat in the 2014-15 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL).