Monday, 28 September 2009

Flintoff: 'England comes first'

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Flintoff is considering a stint in Australian club cricket [GALLO/GETTY]England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff says he is still passionate about playing for England despite rejecting a central contract but would like to experience club cricket in Australia.
The 31-year-old, who is on crutches after a second operation on his right knee, retired from Test cricket after the fifth Ashes Test in August.
His decision not to sign an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) deal led to questions over his future in the one-day and Twenty20 sides.
"My motives are true, I want to play for England for a long time," Flintoff said in London where is promoting his new book 'Ashes to Ashes'.
"I wish I could play more Tests but that's a physical impossibility so the next best thing is to play one-dayers and Twenty20, that's my ambition.
"England is first, closely followed by Lancashire who I am still contracted to, but if I speak to a Lancashire fan it's the other way around.
"England's what I wanted to do since I was a kid and I don't know how long I have left to do it so I want to play every single game that I can."
Down under
Flintoff, whose inspirational bowling performance in the second Test against Australia at Lord's helped to give his country the lead in the series, said his decision not to sign the ECB contract was a personal choice that enabled him to pursue other career paths, including playing in Australia.
"The reason I didn't sign the (contract) is that I'm 31, I know my body, I still have some personal ambition.
"If the opportunity arose to play in Australia I would love to do that, I wanted to go when I was younger but because we've toured every winter for the past 15 years I've not had a chance to do that. It's something personally I would love.
"Sometimes players have the end of their careers creep up on them very quickly and they are left with nothing to do. I want to work and I didn't want any restraints on that...there are reasons (why I didn't sign) but none of them are that I didn't want to play cricket for England."
Flintoff, who has a lucrative deal with Indian Premier League (IPL) side Chennai, said he would continue to regain fitness in Dubai, adding that he would offer his coaching services to the United Arab Emirates team while he was there.
"I'm not sure how that will pan out," he said.
"They have amazing facilities in Dubai, I've offered my services to the UAE if I can help in any way."

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