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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 13:41 UK

Vaughan issues Flintoff warning

Andrew Flintoff celebrates taking a wicket during the recent Ashes series
Flintoff has been a talisman for England during his international career

Ex-skipper Michael Vaughan has warned England's chances of success could be harmed if they do not know Andrew Flintoff's availability.

Flintoff has rejected the offer of an incremental central contract and wants to manage his own schedule.

But Vaughan believes England need to have a settled side in the build up to major tournaments.

"If Fred starts picking and choosing, that's when it becomes a problem leading into a major event," he said.

The 31-year-old played a key role in helping England regain the Ashes this summer but was not considered for a more lucrative 12-month contract having quit Test cricket.

The all-rounder, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, is aiming to play in next spring's Indian Premier League while pursuing short-term deals with Twenty20 teams in Australia, South Africa and the West Indies.

Flintoff says he is committed to playing for England on the one-day and Twenty20 stage and has provisionally made himself available for both the Bangladesh tour in February and the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean next May.

But Vaughan added on BBC Radio's Test Match Special: "If Fred suddenly starts saying 'I won't go to Bangladesh and I won't play in the Pakistan series but I will go to Australia and go to the World Cup' - that's when it becomes dicey.

"Fred has to make himself available. I am sure they will rest a number of players for Bangladesh and that's fine.

"From next summer, as a coach and a captain, you will be wanting your best players available for the last 15 games leading into a World Cup to get your formation and your strategies all working towards winning it.


"If Andrew Flintoff is available for all of them, there is absolutely no problem with what he is doing."

And Vaughan's view is supported by former England coach Peter Moores.

"I don't think anybody expects international cricket to become a place where you can pick and choose because realistically your reputation as a player will become mercenary," he said.

"Freddie is still committed to want to play for England. What's difficult to know is how it all fits without seeing all the schedules of all the competitions together.

These contracts that are being drawn up in the IPL are life changing

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan

"But he has retired from Test match cricket and that's going to create a lot of time in his schedule to be able to play in an IPL and also represent England in key one-day games.

"How that fits with the England management is another question."

Professional Cricketers' Association Sean Morris has supported Flintoff's decision to reject the England contract.

"In Andrew's case, it's a slightly unique example because over the last 10 years he's given his all to English cricket," Morris told BBC Radio 5 live.

"His body clock is beginning to run down and now he's reached a point in his career where he needs to make personal decisions which are best for him and his family.

"He is probably in a unique position because he's built his international value through performing well for England.

"As a result he can gain rewards for playing in Sydney or Mumbai that most other players can't. At the moment I'd say he's in a pretty elite group of a very few players."

Vaughan added that the biggest challenge for Flintoff "is to get fit, incremental contract or not".

"His next six to eight months are going to be spent rehabbing that knee," added Vaughan. "It will take a while. He has refused his contract but he is not going to be playing for a long time anyway.

"I am pretty sure, knowing Fred, that ultimately he wants to have a big impact in the one-day game and the Twenty20.

"To do that he will have to play in a number of England one-day and Twenty20 games to give himself a chance."

We need to sit down and speak to him as to the reasons he's done this and we'll then make an informed decision about what that means to his availability for England

England skipper Andrew Strauss

Vaughan also believes that giving the IPL a three-week window, allowing every player to take part if selected, would end the current problems.

"These contracts that are being drawn up in the IPL are life changing," he said. "One of the easiest ways to solve this is to open up a window.

"I believe six weeks is too long. If you cut that down to a three-week tournament with the world's best players, Twenty20 at it's best, you would make it an unbelievable spectacle.

"The window would be open and we would not have to talk about these issues. Let everyone play and let the boards run the rest of the calendar."

England captain Andrew Strauss, speaking after his team's latest one-day loss to Australia on Tuesday, said: "I'm not going to sit here in judgement of him, because I don't know his reasons.

"But I think if Fred is committed to playing for England he's still a great asset in the shorter formats of the game, and I'm sure he feels he has a lot of cricket left in him.

"We need to sit down and speak to him as to the reasons he's done this and we'll then make an informed decision about what that means to his availability for England."

England's one-day schedule in 2010 includes the ICC World Twenty20 and in 2011 the World Cup.

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see also
Flintoff swayed by TV opportunity
18 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff rejects England contract
15 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff's England future at risk
14 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff recovery set for Dubai
08 Sep 09 |  England
Surgery complication for Flintoff
06 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff admits fears over career
30 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Flintoff undergoes knee surgery
25 Aug 09 |  England
Flintoff's Test career in pictures
28 Sep 09 |  England
Victorious England regain Ashes
23 Aug 09 |  England
IPL reveals 2010 schedule changes
11 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Flintoff quits Tests after Ashes
15 Jul 09 |  Cricket

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