That is who Andrew Flintoff was.
Hindered by bad knees, broken ankles, and disciplinary problems, Flintoff never really lived up to his potential; much like Shoaib Akhtar.
Both Flintoff and Shoaib started their test careers around the same time; 12 years later both find themselves at the end of the road with unfulfilled goals; not due to a lack of ability but due to a lack of determination and drive.
I'm not saying that either cricketer did not have the determination to do well for their country; they just didn't have it in them to remain motivated for a sustained period of time.
Managing one's body is as much a part of a cricketer's career as working on one's batting and bowling.
Like Shoaib, Flintoff never really did that.
The late night drinking and partying, turning up drunk at practice sessions, drinking through pain; Flintoff never really changed his ways despite several warnings. Much like Shoaib.
He was one hell of a cricketer no doubt, but with a bowling average higher than his batting one in tests shows how Flintoff has not lived up to the tremendous potential he had.
He did manage to play 30 more tests than Shoaib Akhtar did during the last 12 years, but that's because of the higher number of tests England plays.
If you take a look at the number of tests both players missed during this time, it is about the same.
Flintoff really starred in only one series; the 2005 Ashes.
Besides that, he never really won matches or series for England on a consistent basis.
I feel Flintoff has let England down more often than he has helped them win; not through his mediocre performances but because of his indiscipline and injuries. A lot like Shoaib Akhtar.
I hardly remember a series that he played in full; again much like Shoaib Akhtar.
I hardly remember a tour in which Flintoff's indiscipline did not come to notice; again much like Shoaib Akhtar.
One area however, where Flintoff differs from Shoaib Akhtar, besides the genital warts, is that the realization of "enough is enough" has finally dawned on him.
The realization that the injuries are getting out of hand, the realization that he can no longer give his best for England in test cricket, the realization that it is time to go.
And hence comes Flintoff's announcement to retire from test cricket after the Ashes.
I believe Shoaib Akhtar should take a cue from this and do the same.
With the end of Flintoff, comes the end of yet another test career. Not a great career, however, but one that had the potential to be.