NOTTINGHAM, England - Australia captain Ricky Ponting sympathised with Andrew Flintoff's decision to go freelance but said the all-rounder's international future was now open to question.
Flintoff, who retired from Test cricket last month after England's Ashes triumph because he said his injury- hit body could no longer stand the strain of the five-day game, has announced that he was turning down the offer of a second-tier, incremental contract from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
"It's an individual decision and you can't begrudge the players doing that, especially someone like Flintoff who has played 70-odd Test matches and whose body has basically forced him out of Test cricket," said Ponting, who recently retired from international Twenty20s.
"It's inevitable it is going to happen," said Ponting after a match-winning 126 that earned him the man of the match award in Australia's four-wicket one-day international win over England at Trent Bridge.
The win put Australia 5-0 up in a seven-match series.
Flintoff, along with England teammate Kevin Pietersen, was the best-paid player in this year's lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) after being auctioned for $1,55million (about R11,5million) to the Chennai Super Kings. The 31-year-old pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman still has another IPL campaign left on his Chennai deal.
"It will be interesting to see what happens with him," Ponting said. "Will England continue to pick him?" - Sapa-AFP