Flintoff pledges himself to England for “a long time”

LONDON,  (Reuters) – 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 and 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 told reporters on Monday in London where he 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.”

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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