'Bungee-jump' scuppered England deal
Andrew Flintoff's agent, Andrew Chandler, has said that a desire to go bungee-jumping was a contributory factor in Flintoff's decision to turn down an ECB central contract.
Denying accusations that Flintoff is a "mercenary" for seeking to maximise his earnings in the final years of his career, Chandler nevertheless queried the ECB's judgement in offering an incremental deal worth £25,000 per year, when his IPL contract alone is worth US$1.55million.
"There were one or two things in it that made it difficult to sign," Chandler told the BBC. "Like he wouldn't be allowed to participate in dangerous sports and he's possibly doing a television series in which he may do bungee-jumping. Also he's got three young kids and Andrew and his wife Rachel both spend reasonable amounts of cash so he has to make plenty.
"I don't know what was in the ECB's mind when they offered him the contract they did," Chandler added. "Because they probably must have known that the money wouldn't have made a lot of difference compared to the sums of money he was earning as a Test cricketer.
"But he is going to end up with the odd sponsorship deal that would be possibly conflicting with an England sponsorship deal and he just wants to have the freedom of mind that he can do what he wants to when he wants to."
Chandler insisted that Flintoff remained committed to carrying on his England career at ODI and Twenty20 level despite snubbing the board's contract offer, and was adamant that the situation would not cause any ill-feeling in the England dressing-room.
"I can't see how not signing his contract could jeopardise his position with England and I've seen reports that it will do this in the dressing room," said the agent. "I don't see what difference it makes whether he is getting paid that extra money or not as long as he does what he needs to do."
Nevertheless, having initially targeted England's tour of Bangladesh for his comeback series, Chandler now believed it was unlikely that Flintoff would be back to full fitness by then, although a second season with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL was a "realistic aim".
So too is a resumption of his one-day career with his original club, Lancashire. "He is also going to be available for every Lancashire game that doesn't cut across an England game," said Chandler. "Lancashire have been great, they have completely understood his situation and he is going to sign a contract with them hopefully in the next seven days, because he has always been a Lancastrian and always will be."