Andrew Flintoff retires from cricket
Andrew Flintoff has retired from cricket after doctors told him his body would not be able to cope with his planned comeback.
The all-rounder has not played since the final Ashes Test last summer and has seen a number of return dates come and go in his fight to overcome a chronic knee problem.
Flintoff had initially planned to play for Lancashire this summer and was reportedly in negotiations to play domestic Twenty20 cricket in Australia and New Zealand, but he has now accepted his professional career is over.
Flintoff, 32, retired from Test match cricket after the Ashes but despite rejecting an incremental ECB contract said he hoped to play for England again in limited-overs cricket.
He also stated he aimed to become the best one-day cricketer in the world and, had he regained match fitness, would have had his pick of offers.
Announcing his decision to give up his fight with fitness, Flintoff said: "It is with both disappointment and sadness that I am today announcing my retirement from all forms of cricket.
"The decision to end my career came yesterday after consultation with medical advisers. I was told that 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.
"Having been told that my body would no longer stand up to the rigours of cricket, I had no alternative but to retire."
Flintoff added. "I would like to thank my family, Lancashire Cricket Club, England, all my sponsors, friends and advisers for all the help and support they have given me throughout my career.
"Last, but by no means least, I am indebted to the encouragement and support I have always received from England's magnificent supporters.
"I will now be taking a break before deciding which future direction to take."
Flintoff's time with England was frequently interrupted by injury, breaking a foot in 1999 before further back and groin problems.
His left ankle then began to cause him problems and he underwent four separate operations on it, frequently denying England his increasingly influential talents.
His knee problem flared up later in his career, forcing him out of both his maiden Indian Premier League stint with Chennai Super Kings and the ICC World Twenty20 on home soil.
Flintoff's knee became an almost daily talking point in last year's Ashes, but fans will remember his relentless, pounding spell in the second Test at Lord's - where he took just his third five wicket haul to down the tourists - as one of his finest hours.
He did not have any time to repeat his famous celebrations of 2005 after helping seal the urn at the Oval, though, booking himself in for surgery the following day.
He initially said he hoped to feature in the one-day series against Bangladesh in March, a target that was later moved back to Lancashire's second XI during the summer and at one stage even included his former club side St Anne's.
Eventually, none of those proved realistic and left Flintoff pondering his career options, with a TV career the most likely route.