Bungee prospect helped Flintoff sever contract ties

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/flintoff-retires.jpg' class='caption'> Andrew Flintoff's decision to reject an England contract was taken partly so he could participate in events such as bungee-jumping.

Updated: September 17, 2009 14:19 IST
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Andrew Flintoff's decision to reject an England contract was taken partly so he could participate in events such as bungee-jumping, as part of future television work, his agent said.

Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, best known for looking after the interests of top golfers, including Ernie Els and Lee Westwood, insisted that 31-year-old all-rounder Flintoff did not turn down an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) incremental contract purely for financial reasons.

"I've seen reports he's a mercenary - he's nothing of the sort," Chandler told BBC Sport of Flintoff, whose career has been blighted by injuries and who is currently recovering from knee surgery.

"There were one or two things in it that made it difficult to sign, like he wouldn't be allowed to participate in dangerous sports - and he's possibly doing a television series in which he may do bungee-jumping."

Flintoff, who has insisted he remains fully committed to England's one-day cause, retired from Test cricket after the side's Ashes series victory last month because he said his body could no longer cope with the five-day format.

Had Flintoff accepted the ECB offer of an incremental deal, this would still have given England a say over when and where he played but for a fraction of the money he received from his previous central contract, something only available to Test players.

Chandler added: "I don't know what was in the ECB's mind when they offered him the contract they did, because they probably must have known that the money wouldn't have made a lot of difference compared to the sums of money he was earning as a Test cricketer.

"But he is going to end up with the odd sponsorship deal that would be possibly conflicting with an England sponsorship deal and he just wants to have the freedom of mind that he can do what he wants to, when he wants to."

All-rounder Flintoff, who already has a lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) tie-up with the Chennai Super Kings, is now available for hire with Australian state sides Queensland and South Australia, as well as the Titans in South Africa, reportedly interested in signing him.

Flintoff hopes to be fit for England's tour of Bangladesh in February.

His plan would then be to play for Chennai in the IPL ahead of another England stint during the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

Flintoff's former England captain Michael Vaughan warned his decision to reject the incremental contract could pose difficulties for the team.

"If Fred (Flintoff) starts picking and choosing, that's when it becomes a problem leading into a major event," Vaughan, England's 2005 Ashes-winning skipper, told BBC Radio.

"From next summer, as a coach and a captain, you will want 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," explained Vaughan, who this season retired from all senior cricket, in part because of a knee injury.

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

And Australian batsman Stuart Law, who played alongside Flintoff at Lancashire, said his former team-mate should feel no remorse over his decision.

"I'm sick and tired of hearing people saying he is just money-grabbing," Law said. "He's gone to hell and back for England. He's pretty much bowled himself into the dirt for them for a decade."

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