Flintoff calls time on career
London - Andrew Flintoff announced his retirement from all cricket on Thursday as he admitted defeat in his battle against a persistent right knee injury.
"It is with both disappointment and sadness that I am today (Thursday) announcing my retirement from all forms of cricket," former England captain Flintoff said in a statement released by his agents, International Sports Management (ISM).
"The decision to end my career came yesterday (Wednesday) after consultation with medical advisers," added the 32-year-old all-rounder, who quit the Test format after helping England regain the Ashes last year.
"Having been told that my body would no longer stand up to the rigours of cricket, I had no alternative but to retire.
"I would like to thank my family, Lancashire Cricket Club, England, all my sponsors, friends and advisers for all the help and support they have given me throughout my career.
"Last, but by no means least, I am indebted to the encouragement and support I have always received from England's magnificent supporters."
Flintoff, who has been widely tipped to follow the path of fellow ex-England skippers Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan by pursuing a media career, added: "I will now be taking a break before deciding which future direction to take."
England captain Andrew Strauss, who played alongside Flintoff, paid tribute to the "ultimate impact cricketer".
"I would just like to say on behalf of the England team we would like to congratulate Andrew on an outstanding career," Strauss, speaking at The Oval ahead of the fifth one-day international against Pakistan at the south London ground on Friday, said.
"The impact he has had on English cricket has been immense.
"The biggest memories I will have of him are how incredibly able he was to make something happen out of nothing with both bat and ball," said Strauss, who recalled Flintoff's immense contribution to England's 2005 Ashes series win.
"2005 was his zenith. But he was always the ultimate impact cricketer, somebody who on so many occasions stepped up to the plate.
"He would put his body on the line on flat wickets when other bowlers were maybe starting to struggle.
"Because of the way he bowled, and what he put into it, it was probably not as easy for him to get seven-fors and eight-fors.
"But if you talked to other players around the world, they would always say Andrew was one of the bowlers they least wanted to face - because he could be so hostile.
"We are all striving to gain the respect of our peers," Strauss said. "Andrew certainly did that
Flintoff has not played cricket at all since the fifth and final Test against Australia at The Oval in August last year. His career was blighted by injuries, particularly to his ankle and knee, and he retired from Test cricket after that match.
But he then outlined his ambition to become the world's best one-day player.
However, Flintoff was unable to return to action and had to scrap plans to play for county side Lancashire this season.
Flintoff, a pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman, played 79 Tests for England after making his debut as a 20-year-old against South Africa at Trent Bridge in 1998.
He took 226 wickets at 32.78 and scored 3,845 runs at 31.77, with five hundreds, including a best of 167 against the West Indies at Edgbaston in 2004.
Flintoff was also an effective one-day cricketer and an especially economical bowler in the limited overs game.
His outstanding season came when England, under Vaughan's captaincy, regained the Ashes in 2005.
Flintoff scored 402 runs and took 24 wickets in arguably the greatest all-round display by an English cricketer since Ian Botham transformed the 1981 Ashes series.
But that was the pinnacle of his England career.
Flintoff, when Vaughan was unfit, captained England to a 5-0 loss in the subsequent 2006/07 Ashes series in Australia.
Then Flintoff, after a late night drinking session, was found on a pedalo in the early hours in St Lucia during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean -- an incident that saw him stripped of the England vice-captaincy.
However, there were a couple of memorable solo displays last year where only the third five-wicket haul of his Test career helped bowl England to their first Test victory over Australia at Lord's since 1934.
He also ran out Australia captain Ricky Ponting with a direct hit in the fifth and final Test at The Oval in a victory that saw England take the series 2-1.