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Injury-prone Flintoff set to quit tests

ENGLAND allrounder Andrew Flintoff is to retire from test cricket at the end of the Ashes series against Australia because of persistent injury problems, the England and Wales Cricket Board said yesterday.

The 31-year-old will continue to make himself available for one-day and Twenty20 fixtures, an ECB statement said.

"My body has told me it's time to stop. Since 2005 I've had two years when I've done nothing but rehab from one injury or another," Flintoff said.

"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."

Flintoff's participation in the second test at Lord's, which starts today, remains uncertain after he suffered his latest injury in the first test, when he bowled 35 overs.

The Lancashire allrounder had surgery for a torn meniscus in April, cutting short his time in the Indian Premier League. The news is a big blow to England as Flintoff is not only a key strike bowler and destructive batsman but a huge personality who lifts his teammates and the crowd.

"I think he's had a dramatic effect on world cricket," England captain Andrew Strauss said.

"He helped bring a new audience to the game and within the four walls of the changing room he kept us going at times when things were pretty difficult.

"He could be inspirational both by what he did on the pitch but also how he was around the lads and he will be missed.

"The way he plays the game, the way he took the game to the opposition with the bat and the wholehearted way he bowled, it's pretty hard not to be impressed by the way he plays the game.

"He's had some great days for England and he's always contributed, even when he wasn't taking five wickets or scoring hundreds. As much as anything just as a personality the way he's played his cricket has been a great asset to the game," added Strauss, who said he was hopeful Flintoff would be fit to play at Lord's.

Flintoff made his England debut in 1998 and has played 76 tests and 141 one-day internationals. He averages 31.69 in tests and has taken 219 wickets.

Hugely popular with fans for his whole-hearted approach and winning personality, he was a key member of the 2005 Ashes-winning side. However, his career has been blighted by injury and he has missed more than 20 tests over the last three years.

He had four separate operations on his ankle between 2005 and 2007 and has problems with his hip, groin, shoulder and back.


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