16 Jul 2009

Former England players and coaches hail Flintoff as one of the greatest

6:46 pm on 16 July 2009

Former England players and coaches Thursday hailed Andrew Flintoff as one of the greatest players of his generation, a day after he announced his retirement from test cricket.

Flintoff, who's 31, says the strain of constantly coming back from injury has brought him to the decision.

Former allrounder Sir Ian Botham says Flintoff showed he was the one of the greatest all-rounders in 2005 when England defeated Australia to regain the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

But he says Flintoff's decision to walk away from Test cricket at the end of the current Ashes series isn't surprising and since 2005 his body has let him down and you can't keep shoving needles into a bloke and expect him to be fine."

Flintoff has suffered a series of injuries that have blighted his career and he now has to overcome a knee problem if he wants to play in the second Ashes Test starting tonight.

Michael Vaughan said Flintoff caused him to have more management meetings than anybody else during his time as England captain.

But the match turning, series-winning performances that he put in more than outweighed the odd difficulty he caused, Vaughan wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Flintoff was dropped from the England team to face Canada at the World Cup in 2007, and stripped of the vice-captaincy, after staying out late drinking and riding a pedalo in the early hours.

Ex-England coach Duncan Fletcher wrote in the Guardian newspaper that Flintoff's injuries after 2005 meant he plateaued as a force at the international level.