FLINTOFF CRITICISES THE AUSTRALIANS

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff has said that the Australian spinners are in complete disarray. In a dire assessment of his one-time foes, Flintoff said the Australian cricket side was in “disarray” and would not recover unless Warne reprised his match-winning ability to haunt England.

Warne, 41, played the last of his 145 Tests almost four years ago against England, but Flintoff – ironically Warne’s final victim – was adamant the spin great could reinvigorate the ailing Aussies.

“I’d love to see Warnie play again, it would be unbelievable,” Flintoff said.

“He’ll talk it up but if he doesn’t think he can come in and perform as he did before he stopped playing Test cricket, I don’t think he’ll put himself out there to do it.

“But I hope he does. Warne’s aura would bring something to the side, he’d make a difference in the dressing room.

FLINTOFF BACKS ENGLAND

Andrew Flintoff today said that England would beat the Australians in the ashes series. Flintoff played memorable roles in England’s victories of 2005 and 2009, but was also the captain for a miserable 5-0 defeat in Australia four years ago.

He is talking a confident game this round however, saying: ‘Looking at the two teams, I reckon we’ll beat them. ‘It’s going to be interesting watching it but I think we’ll just edge it.’

Andrew Flintoff has also backed Kevin Pietersen to make a big contribution despite a disappointing year with the bat for his country.

‘Kevin’s taken a bit of stick recently because of his form but he’s too good not to score runs.”

FLINTOFF ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Andrew Flintoff has announced his retirement from Cricket due to the injuries. The most popular England cricketer for a generation said he was sad and disappointed to be hanging up his boots. It leaves him plenty of time to use his Wimbledon Hospitality tickets.

His army of fans had hoped Andrew Flintoff, 32, would make another comeback but knee surgeons have told him the game is up. The all-rounder became a hero thanks to his match-winning exploits to help England win back the Ashes from Australia in 2005 after 18 years.

In a statement, he said: “It’s with disappointment and sadness I am announcing my retirement from all forms of cricket. I was told the problems I have been trying to overcome in rehab for the last year, following the latest in a series of operations, would not recover sufficiently to allow a comeback.” He added: “I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in. I think it’s going to take a while. The decision has been made for me.

“It’s going to be difficult. It’s something I’ve done professionally for nearly 17 years. Since I was a kid, all I’ve wanted was to play cricket.”

FLINTOFF HOPES FOR COMEBACK

Andrew Flintoff says that he hopes to make 20-20 comeback for Queensland. The former Test all-rounder, who has not played since September, said: “I’m still getting a few twinges in the knee and can’t move as well as I’d like to.”

According to The Sun, Andrew Flintoff’s comeback comment comes almost three weeks after the Queensland Bulls confirmed that they are hopeful of securing the England all-rounder for this season’s KFC Twenty20 Big Bash in spite of his latest knee injury.

Queensland Cricket Chief Executive Officer Graham Dixon had said then that the Bulls would still keenly monitor Flintoff’s progress, and hoped that he would be fit to join the team at the end of the year.

“We are that he is continuing his rehabilitation with Lancashire and are acutely aware that this will be his priority for the immediate future. We know that Andrew has been the object of some interest from a number of states, including us, and that he has publicly expressed a desire to play in the Big Bash,” said Dixon.

“But at the moment, he is still working on his recovery. We”re encouraged by the progress of our talks at this point in time, and will continue to keep the lines of communication open with his management team,” he added

FLINTOFF RULES OUT AUSSIE LEAGUE

Andrew Flintoff is not prepared to discuss the possibility of playing domestic Twenty20 cricket in Australia until he is fully fit.

There have been reports that state sides Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria are lining up bids to sign him.

But his spokesman Myles Hodgson told BBC Sport: “Nothing is on the horizon. We are not talking to anyone until he starts playing for Lancashire again.”

A return to county duty in late July or early August remains Flintoff’s target.

The 32-year-old all-rounder is currently training six hours a day from his new home in Dubai, combining regular gym work with swimming and kayaking.

He is a long way from fully testing the knee that has endured two operations since last summer’s Ashes, though he did have a brief batting session in the Old Trafford nets after flying to Manchester in April for the county’s pre-season media day.

FLINTOFF THE WRESTLER?

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has said that he is “a big fan” of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) action and joked he could take up the sport once his cricket career ends.

Flintoff is his way back to fitness and hopes to play cricket again for England and Lancashire.

The 32-year-old along with his friends met WWE stars, including John Cena, Bret Hart, Randy Orton and Batista, at London’s O2 last week.

“Freddie was always a wrestling fan growing up, so when he was in town and had the chance to see them in the flesh he jumped at it. He loved the show,” Daily Star quoted one of Flintoff’s friends, as saying.

Flintoff has not picked up a bat since the knee surgery, following the Ashes triumph over Australia last year.