LONDON: Andrew Flintoff's former England captain Michael Vaughan warned his decision to reject an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) contract could have dangerous consequences for the side.
Flintoff, who made an injury-induced retirement from Test cricket after the end of England's Ashes triumph last month, announced on Tuesday he was turning down the offer of an ECB incremental contract.
This would have given England a say over when and where he played but for a fraction of the money Flintoff received from his previous central contract, a deal only available to Test players.
All-rounder Flintoff, who already has a lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) tie-up with the Chennai Super Kings, is now available for hire with Australian state sides Queensland and South Australia, as well as the Titans in South Africa, reportedly interested in signing the 31-year-old.
But Flintoff, currently recovering from knee surgery, insists he remains committed to England's one-day cause, which he hopes to bolster by being fit in time for February's tour of Bangladesh.
His plan would then be to play for Chennai in the IPL ahead of another England stint during the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
"If Fred (Flintoff) starts picking and choosing, that's when it becomes a problem leading into a major event," Vaughan, England's 2005 Ashes-winning captain, told BBC Radio.
"If Fred suddenly starts saying 'I won't go to Bangladesh and I won't play in the Pakistan series but I will go to Australia and go to the World Cup' - that's when it becomes dicey," added the Yorkshire batsman, who this season announced his own knee-injury induced retirement from all senior cricket.
"From next summer, as a coach and a captain, you will want your best players available for the last 15 games leading into a World Cup to get your formation and your strategies all working towards winning it," Vaughan explained.
"If Andrew Flintoff is available for all of them, there is absolutely no problem with what he is doing."
Mike Gatting, another former England Ashes-winning skipper and now the ECB's manager of cricket partnerships, took a relaxed view of Flintoff's move.
"Economically, you can't blame him," Gatting said. "I think there are discussions to be had but it's about what Fred wants more than anything else and whether he's happy to commit as an England one-day player."
Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle, who came up against Flintoff during the Ashes, said the aggressive paceman and hard-hitting batsman would be a big draw 'Down Under'.
"Any team would no doubt love to have a bloke like that, just the way he goes about his cricket," Siddle, a member of the Australia team that beat England by four wickets at Trent Bridge here on Tuesday to go 5-0 up in a seven-match one-day series, said.
"He can be picked in any side as a bowler or a batsman which is a massive positive for any team.
"The presence he had out on the field is very appealing to anyone that would like to have him in their side. He's a top bloke and a top-class player."