December 22, 2012

English cricket

Flintoff retirement beckons (or a fight with Ryder)

Alex Winter

No, this is not a headline dug out from the archives but the latest reality for Andrew Flintoff's career. It was Flintoff's knees that couldn't hold out long enough for a cricket life beyond the age of 32 but now his shoulder could cause his bowing out of the ring after just one fight.

Flintoff made a successful boxing debut, defeating American Richard Dawson by a single point, but has had to undergo an operation to repair a torn shoulder ligament, which could mean the end of his fighting life, despite many offers of future bouts, including with estranged New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder.

"It would have to fit into a window that didn't have cricket on because he couldn't do both, particularly if he was playing for the Black Caps, but we haven't made that decision yet," Ryder's manager, Aaron Klee told The New Zealand Herald.

With injury ruling out many other activities Flintoff could be tempted back to cricket - potentially as the freelance Twenty20 batsman he initially had in mind after giving up international cricket after the 2009 Ashes.

"The injury to his shoulder will be taken into account but at this stage we are ruling nothing in and nothing out," a spokesman for Flintoff said. "It is a nasty one but he has had a lot nastier during his life. We will just wait and see and report back in the new year and see where we go. There are certainly leads to chase."

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Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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