Flintoff to retire after Ashes Tests

LONDON: England allrounder Andrew Flintoff announced today that he will retire from Test cricket after the Ashes series against Australia because of his ongoing struggle with injuries.

The 31-year-old Flintoff is still determined to feature in the four remaining Tests of the current series — despite aggravating a knee injury during the drawn first Test against Australia which ended on Sunday. “My body has told me it’s time to stop,” the former England captain said. “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.”

Flintoff has struggled with injuries since being at the heart of the 2005 Ashes triumph and is sacrificing five-day cricket to try to ensure his fitness for the 50-over and Twenty20 international matches. He has played Test cricket for 11 years. “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 rigors of Test cricket,” he said.

“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.”

England captain Andrew Strauss revealed that although he had prior knowledge, Flintoff made the announcement to the team on Wednesday morning. “As players we’ve had a feeling this was coming sooner rather than later with the injuries he’s had over the last couple of years,” Strauss said.

“Test match bowling puts so much pressure on his body that this seemed the logical thing to do. It’s sad that he’s made this decision at this age but maybe it will make him more motivated for the next four Tests. He wants to go out with a bang.”

Strauss was confident that Flintoff would be fit enough

to get through the Lord’s

Test that starts on Thursday and also the rest of the series.

“We spoke to the medical

staff and we would never play a guy in a Test if we didn’t have a huge amount of confidence that he could get through,” he said. “He feels better the news is out there and with the injury surrounding this game he felt it was the right time.”