Flintoff to miss IPL as he targets full county season
LONDON: Andrew Flintoff will not fulfil the second year of his contract with Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise the Chennai Super Kings after undergoing another operation on his right knee.
However, the England all-rounder has set his sights on playing for his native county side Lancashire in all competitions in the next English season, having believed he would be fit for one-day matches only, even if he won''t be returning until midway through the domestic campaign.
Pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman Flintoff retired from Test cricket after helping England regain the Ashes last year, saying his injury-hit body could no longer stand the strain, but stressed he wanted to remain involved in the one-day set-up.
However, he has not played at all since undergoing a micro-fracture operation on his right knee soon after the Ashes.
But, following what a statement released Thursday by his agent said was a "routine arthroscopy operation" this week to check on his knee, which is expected to sideline him for six months, Flintoff altered his ambitions.
"My goals have changed since last summer," Flintoff said. "I trust the surgeon, Andy Williams, implicitly and he is very pleased with the progress of the operation.
"When I first had the operation I did not think I would be able to play anything other than one-day cricket, but the news of my recovery has led me to believe I may play in all forms of cricket for Lancashire."
"My first love remains playing for Lancashire and I want to help them win trophies and hopefully I can help achieve that later this (English) summer."
The statement added Flintoff''s decision to undergo another operation took into account he would not be able to fulfil the second year of his contract with Chennai in the IPL.
"It is disappointing not to be able to play for Chennai, who have been very supportive throughout my time with them, but I took this decision because I love playing cricket and want to give myself the best chance of extending my career," Flintoff said.
He added: "I have worked extremely hard over the last few months to get to this position and realise there is a lot more hard work in front of me if I want to return and play international cricket again.
"But if I am going to go through another six months of hard rehabilitation and training for long hours, I need a big incentive to be the driving force of that and playing for Lancashire and England again will become that."
Flintoff said watching England''s tour of South Africa, where the concluding fourth Test in Johannesburg is currently taking place, had whetted his appetite for cricket.
"During my time in rehabilitation I have been watching England playing well in South Africa and it has made me realise how much I have missed cricket," the 32-year-old explained.
Flintoff''s career has also been blighted by four ankle operations but when fit he remains capable of high-class bowling spells as was shown when he took five wickets for 92 runs in July to help England win a Test against Australia at Lord''s for the first time in 75 years.
In 79 Tests, Flintoff scored 3,845 runs at an average of 31.77 with five hundreds and a best of 167. He took 226 wickets at 32.78, three times taking five wickets in an innings.
Flintoff has also scored nearly 4,000 runs in 141 one-day internationals with three hundreds and taken 169 wickets.