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September 17, 2009

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Flintoff turns down England

ANDREW Flintoff is set to become world cricket's first freelance player after rejecting the offer of a contract with the England national team.

The England and Wales Cricket Board last week offered Flintoff a second-tier incremental contract following his retirement from test matches, but the 31-year-old allrounder has turned it down in favor of traveling the world to play for different teams on short-term deals.

The arrangement will allow Flintoff, who is recovering from knee surgery in Dubai, to decide which England matches he is available for.

"I was flattered to receive the offer of an incremental contract from the ECB, which I wasn't really expecting, but at this stage of my career I don't think I need to be told when to play and when to rest," Flintoff said. "I have played international cricket for 11 years and know my body's capabilities."

Whether England picks him is another matter since the ECB may be irked by what could be seen as a decision motivated by financial considerations. His agent told a national newspaper at the weekend that Flintoff intended to play for as many as six teams on five continents next year, including Twenty20 in the lucrative Indian Premier League.

"I am grateful to the ECB for the all the financial support they have given me to help in my rehabilitation," Flintoff said. "I have moved to Dubai because I believe it will help in that."

Flintoff announced after laboring through England's first Ashes test against Australia that he was quitting test cricket. He said that he still wants to play one-day and Twenty20 matches for England.

"I said when I retired from test cricket that my ambition was to become the best one-day and Twenty20 player in the world and playing in all these different countries can only help," he said.


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