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from Left field:

More Freelance Flintoffs might serve England well

flintoffAndrew Flintoff's decision to forego a contract with England and set himself up as an elite cricket freelancer has provoked a fair amount of grumbling in the media, with words like "mercenary" and "snub" being bandied about all over the place.

But whether you consider Flintoff's decision ungrateful or not, consider for a moment whether it might not work out to England's advantage.

As others have said, there's nothing really new in Flintoff's decision to go it alone. Other cricketers have made themselves available as players for hire in different parts of the world over a season.

The difference here is that Flintoff has made it clear that he is still available to play for his country at one-day international and Twenty20 level ... and looking at the country's recent results, how they need him.

from Left field:

And so the search for a new Flintoff begins…

In the wake of England’s Ashes triumph over Australia, a huge question awaits...can England find a replacement for Andrew Flintoff?

He has been the scourge of the opposition for so long. His importance was underlined in this series where despite being half-fit he managed to knock over the tourists at Lord’s to claim five wickets and even ran out Australian captain Ricky Ponting at the Oval (which he said on Monday was probably the first time he’s ever run somebody out).

from Left field:

England regain the Ashes — your views


England have regained the Ashes after beating Australia by 197 runs at the Oval to seal a 2-1 series victory.

How important was Andrew Flintoff's run out of Ricky Ponting when the Australia captain looked well set? Flintoff did little with bat or ball in his last test before retiring but still made sure he grabbed the headlines.

from Left field:

Can England afford to call on fragile Flintoff again?

cricketIn the end it wasn't about the two S's, Swann and swing, it came down to the two P's, patience and perseverance, as Australia's batsmen swept away England hopes of a 2-0 Ashes series lead by holding on for a draw at Edgbaston. The challenge for Australia and their batting line-up now is to perform like that in the first innings of a test to put pressure on England, and not just in the second when they need to save a game.

This match didn't get the denouement it deserved after the thrilling cricket played on Friday and Sunday, but mother nature can hold up her hand and take the blame for that. Just one more day's play could have provided an intriguing finish, but it wasn't to be.