DUBAI // Andrew Flintoff plans to travel the world from his base in Dubai as a Twenty20 hired hand after he turned down an offer of an incremental contract from England. The 31-year-old all-rounder's decision has already drawn much criticism, but Sean Morris, the Professional Cricketers Association chief executive, defended the Ashes star. "He is probably in a unique position because he's built his international value through performing well for England," Morris said.
"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." Mike Gatting, the former England captain, refuted the idea that Flintoff's move sets a worrying precedent. "Fred's is a slightly different scenario because of a chronic injury and I'm not too sure many people will be doing the same because they will want to play Test cricket," said Gatting.
Flintoff is in Dubai to recuperate from injury and is also contemplating making it his base for long term.Flintoff has stated on his website that he "will also help out the United Arab Emirates cricket team while in Dubai". The UAE cricket officials, however, say Flintoff's claim is news to them. "I know that he is in Dubai, but I am not aware of any arrangements that have been made," said Mazhar Khan, the Emirates Cricket Board administrator.
Flintoff is not the only one who can look forward to a diet of Twenty20 cricket over the near future. Arshad Ali, the free-hitting all-rounder who has been termed the UAE's Freddie Flintoff in the past, hopes the chance to be advised by the Lancashire all-rounder comes will now become a reality. "I would love to face him," said Arshad. "He sat the game out when we played in the ProArch Trophy [in 2008] against Lancashire, so I didn't get to face him then.
"It's understandable he wants to play Twenty20 and not Test cricket now. In Twenty20 you turn up and bowl four overs, get all the exposure and all the money. "In Test matches, you might have to bowl 30 overs and still not take a wicket." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org