Monday, 2 November 2009

Freelance Flintoff

Written by Dan Etchells.

Andrew Flintoff’s decision to reject an England contract has caused quite a stir in the cricketing world.

You can certainly see why he doesn’t want to be tied to the England and Wales Cricket Board as it gives him the best of both worlds. He can pick and choose which games he plays for England and can also compete in the various Twenty20 franchise competitions around the world.

Nevertheless, there has been a lot of scepticism surrounding his decision to turn down a £30,000 a year contract. You would have to question whether it’s fair for Flintoff to miss the less glamorous one day internationals and then just walk back into the side for the 50-over World Cup and the World Twenty 20. The player sacrificed in favour of Flintoff will surely have something to say about it.

But by the same token how can you leave out arguably England’s finest player, when ready and available? Flintoff is probably the only player who could get possibly get away with turning down a contract because of his stature within the England team. Becoming a freelance cricketer doesn’t seem as though it will catch on because for most other players it could prove a costly for their England careers.

One thing you must admire about Flintoff’s decision is that he’s turned down a massive £30,000. Yes he has a £1 million contract with the Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings, however, £30,000 is a lot of money and Flintoff has prioritised the prolonging of his career over that.

At the moment Flintoff is recovering from knee surgery and is set to be back in action when England tour Bangladesh in February. He obviously feels that at this stage of his career he can make his own decisions about when to play and when to rest. Having played international cricket for 11 years he knows his own capabilities and doesn’t need the ECB to manage his schedule.

There’s no doubt that his decision is a risky one and if the England coach Andy Flower believes that it could have an affect on the unity of the squad, then it could backfire and bring a premature end to a glittering international career. He’s made his decision and will just have to wait and see whether it proves to be a good one.

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