England and Flintoff can coexist
Mike Atherton in the Times writes that there should be no problem with Andrew Flintoff's decision, provided he is available whenever England want him.
As long as Flintoff is fit and able, Flower should continue to pick him and England will continue to pay him a match fee for his services (nor should they be churlish and refuse him a No Objection Certificate for the IPL). Flower should expect the kind of commitment that he would expect from any other non-contracted player receiving a match fee; that is to say, he should expect Flintoff to pitch up for training days before a match and he should expect him to abide by team regulations within the period of that match.
Flower needs to make it absolutely clear that as soon as his expectations and Flintoff’s diverge, or as soon as Flintoff puts any other team before England, then Flintoff will never play for England again. Simple.
In the Guardian, Mike Selvey agrees that Flintoff cannot cherry-pick which games he wants to play.
Flintoff is not the centre of the England cricket solar system, with all else revolving around him. He appears to be wanting to dictate the terms on which he will provide his services, but he will find that in Flower there is someone used to dealing with a dictator far more malevolent than either Chandler or Flintoff. It is some while since England regarded an appearance by Flintoff as anything other than a bonus. They do not plan around him and are quite used to life without him. Just as long as there is no conflict, there is no reason to suppose that the two parties, England and Flintoff, cannot coexist harmoniously.
A short and funny post on the Reverse swing manifesto blog makes the case against Flintoff going freelance.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here