Legendary England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has revealed that iconic Pakistan left-arm seamer Wasim Akram helped him become a successful cricketer.
Flintoff added that Akram “was one of my heroes” growing up. He pointed out that when he was just 16, he got to play alongside Akram for Lancashire.
It was there that Flintoff got tips from Akram on gripping the ball and how to make it reverse swing.
“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 said on talkSPORT’s podcast. 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.”
Akhtar also shared his experience of facing Flintoff, while stating that he thoroughly enjoyed playing against him.
“We learned about Flintoff through Wasim Akram, when he was playing for Manchester as he was talking about this young kid, who was highly talented and the next Ian Botham of England. We were very curious to know who that kid is,” said Akhtar.
“I finally saw him in Sharjah, in 1998 I think, where he hit Saqlain [Mushtaq] for massive sixes which scared me. We realised that this guy is powerful and multi-talented.”
“He was a great competitor and could win matches for England single-handedly. We thoroughly enjoyed playing against him,” he added.
Flintoff played 79 Test matches and scored 3,845 runs at an average of 31.8, while also claiming 226 wickets with an average of 32.8.
He featured in 141 one-day Internationals (ODIs), scoring 3,394 runs at an average of 32.02. Meanwhile in the bowling department, Flintoff took 169 wickets at an economy rate of 4.4. He featured in 7 Twenty20 International (T20Is) as well.