Freddie to call it a day
Talismanic all-rounder forced to quit Test cricket due to ongoing injuries
Since 2005 I have just been plagued with injury so I've got the opportunity now to finish on a high by helping England to win the Ashes and it will give me great pleasure if I can play my last Test at the Oval and we can win the Ashes - it doesn't get any bigger than that.
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England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has announced that he will retire from Test cricket at the end of the Ashes this summer.
The 31-year-old has been struggling with injuries over the past few years, after powering England to their Ashes glory in the summer of 2005.
The Lancashire all-rounder has had four ankle operations and is battling to be fit for Thursday's second Test at Lord's, and in the build-up to that game he announced his decision.
Flintoff, who suffered a recurrence of a right knee injury in Cardiff, addressed the rest of the England squad before they started their indoor nets session on Wednesday - apparently telling them of his decision.
Continued injuries have forced Flintoff, who has played 75 Tests for England, claiming 212 wickets and scoring 3,658 runs including five centuries, to set a date to quit.
Time to stop
"My body has told me it's time to stop," said Flintoff, who will now concentrate on one-day internationals and Twenty20s.
"I've been through four ankle operations, I had knee surgery just a couple of months ago and had three jabs in my knee on Monday just to get me right for this Test so I took that as my body telling me that I can't cope with the rigours of Test cricket.
"Since 2005 I've done two years when I've done nothing but rehab from one injury or another. Two of the last four years I've spent just in rehabilitation and I just can't keep doing it for myself, my own sanity, my family and also for the team - because they need to move on as well.
"It's been something I've been thinking about for a while and I think this last problem I've had with my knee has confirmed to me that the time is now right.
"For the next four Test matches I'll do everything I need to do to get on a cricket field and I'm desperate to make my mark.
"I want to finish playing for England on a high and if you look at the fixtures going forward, the way my body is suggests I won't be able to get through that."
After his 2005 heroics, Flintoff's fortunes turned as he captained England during their disastrous 5-0 whitewash in the reverse fixture in Australia.
Matters soon got worse for Flintoff when he lost the vice-captaincy under Michael Vaughan after his drunken late-night escapade in a pedalo at the start of a notably unsuccessful 2007 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean.
Despite those incidents, Flintoff remains a firm crowd favourite and one of England's most feared competitors, but his body has now told him he cannot continue.
"I love playing Test cricket, but the decision has been made for me - I don't think I've been left with any other choices," he added.
"I've not been playing Test cricket very often over the last few years so it's bitterly disappointing but it's something I've not been doing very often anyway.
"It's also important for the team that I make this announcement because they need to move on. They can't keep waiting for me to get fit or for me to play a game here and there - they need to give someone else a chance to make their way in the game.
"I would have liked to have stamped my mark more, but I had three years from 2003 to 2005 when I had everything going my own way. I got a few man-of-the-series awards on the bounce and I tried wholeheartedly and gave my best every time I went out there.
"Since 2005 I have just been plagued with injury so I've got the opportunity now to finish on a high by helping England to win the Ashes and it will give me great pleasure if I can play my last Test at the Oval and we can win the Ashes - it doesn't get any bigger than that."
Flintoff will hope that ending his Test career will extend his playing days in both ODIs and Twenty20s, both internationally and in the lucrative Indian Premier League.
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John Price says...
We will be hard pressed to replace him.I still remember Botham/Willis,and he is of a similar larger than life character.He can make things happen at any stage of a game.Good luck and thanks for all the great memories
Posted 18:08 15th July 2009
Wayne Kilpatrick says...
Quite simply irreplaceable.....2005 was without doubt freddie at his best and he has never quite been the same player since, especially with the bat. The only problem now is replacing him and I see no one in the same league.....good luck for the future and go out on a high and get stuck into those Aussies !
Posted 18:06 15th July 2009
David Finlayson says...
those people who say freedie was passed it are wrong. batsmen from other teams prayed for him to be unfit or injured what other bowlers do england have that have that affect on bats men. i think engalnd need to find a replacement fast but good luck freedie ur a ledgend
Posted 16:41 15th July 2009
Mark Bolland says...
As an ex-pat living in aus,thanks Freddie for restoring English Cricket.I think your retirement will undoubtedly be a huge setback for Test Cricket in general..maybe even a few aussies will be sad to see you go.You have been the whole package as far as a cricketer goes... Bowling,Batting,Catching,not to mention great sportsmanship and a great character of the game.Its just not cricket without you m8. One last push to help the team to another ashes win (against the odds) if anyone can inspire the team,the crowd and the viewers at home....THERES ONLY ONE FREDDIE FLINTOFF.
Posted 15:12 15th July 2009
Andy Smith says...
As a pom living in OZ for the last two and half years , I would like to say thank youto Freddie , i was at the edgbaston test in 2005 and also many before that , Andrew Flintoff is an awesome inspiration to many people .He deserves all the luck in the world I wish him all the vry best and Thank you FREDDIE FOR A FANTASTIC ASHES IN 2005 and for palying with all your heart whenever you played for England !!!
Posted 12:59 15th July 2009
Andy Slater says...
Good luck to Freddie however i cant help thinking that the IPL was a dollar too far and he should have thought more on being completely fit for the Ashes than the finacial reward of tip and run. My thoughts are drop him now and let the team move on.
Posted 12:57 15th July 2009
Imran Dar says...
About time I say! He has lived on the 2005 ashes for too long. A bit selfish to announce his retirement now. Why couldnt he wait until the end of the series. Typical he is in it for himself. Good riddance!
Posted 12:35 15th July 2009
Adam Searle says...
Gutting news really for all england cricket fans though the time is going to come eventually, noone can criticise this decision and you can understand fully why he has chosen to retire. Fred is going to be a massive loss to the side and he is still such an exciting player to watch. Well Fred go out in style and knock the Aussies dead and bring back the ashes.
Posted 12:23 15th July 2009
Matthew Deeming says...
This is a sad day for English Test cricket.He`s been one of the most lethal bowlers around for a long time and can destroy a bowling attack once he is in bat.I want to say thank you for 2005 and you are at the top of all our lists with the best ever!Thanks for the Memories Freddie.
Posted 12:22 15th July 2009
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