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13-Oct-2009 12:01:00 GMT
England news

Flintoff Planning Australian Swansong

London: Andrew Flintoff wants to have a spell playing domestic cricket in Australia before the end of his career.

The all-rounder, currently recovering from knee surgery, has retired from Test cricket because he feels his body can no longer take the strain of five-day matches.

But he has set himself the target of becoming the world's best player in the shorter forms of the game and is free to pick and choose where he plays after turning down the offer of an incremental contract from the England and Wales cricket board.

Flintoff's move led to suggestions that he had put chasing cash above his country but the 31-year-old insists his critics are wide of the mark, and revealed that his unfulfilled professional ambitions include a spell in Australia.

"I'm comfortable with what I've done. I know what I'm doing - sincerely. I'm in a good position to know when I can play, and when I can't," Flintoff said in an interview with The Guardian.

"I'll never duck out of an England game. I enjoy playing too much for England to do that. I'm also hoping to play more for Lancashire and in the IPL. Another ambition is to play in an Australian domestic tournament."

Flintoff is still on crutches after undergoing arthroscopy and microfracture surgery to his right knee in late August but has been cheered by his surgeon's upbeat assessment of his prospects for resuming his career next year.

"The frustrating thing is that I don't even feel injured," Flintoff said. "I'm not in pain but the surgeon warned me it's going to be a test of patience - and patience is not something I've got in abundance.

"The rehab is very slow. I'm on the crutches until November and once the knee is scanned, we'll see if it's beginning to work.

"It helps that the surgeon says the chances of me coming back are high."

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