The suggestion that Andrew Flintoff might reject his incremental ECB contract in favour of becoming a limited overs freelance cricketer has understandably caused a stir. We might just have seen the end of Flintoff’s international career.
It is significant that the comments have come from Flintoff’s agent – the one man in England who wants to see the big allrounder going around the world chasing the money – but his man’s international future is in serious doubt.
There are already serious concerns about whether Flintoff can return at the highest level after his latest injury lay-off, especially as he might not be as motivated in rehabilitation now the carrot of Test cricket is no longer there.
Flintoff wants to play at the next two World Cups and as many ICC World Twenty20s as possible, but as well as the doubts his body has, his former employers will be unsure about his involvement.
Andy Flower expects England players to feature in only three weeks of next year’s IPL if they have toured Bangladesh and it is unlikely that coach and captain will want to plan for the future with a player that opts out of international series, should Flintoff indeed prioritise other domestic Twenty20 events.
Flintoff’s absence from Test cricket will make planning without him easier in coloured clothing, although the team’s current predicament suggests beggars can’t be choosers. The cricket betting odds show that England need Flintoff, freelance or not.
This issue will be unresolved until Flintoff retires from all international cricket. We might not have to wait too long for that announcement.