Pietersen admits to contract doubts

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen believes other players may follow Andrew Flintoff in opting not to sign central contracts in the future.

The England batsman insists Flintoff's decision to reject an incremental contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board in order to have total freedom over his one-day and Twenty20 playing commitments is an indication that central contracts are no longer an ideal fit for the modern game.

Pietersen said: "I think everybody needs to realise that something that was right seven years ago ... is not [necessarily] right now in terms of central contracts. But I think the reality of it is now, with the Indian Premier League and everything around, central contracts are not necessarily going to be things people are going to look forward to."

Of his own contract status, Pietersen was keen to stress that Flintoff was in a "different position" because of his decision to retire from Test cricket as a result of ongoing injury problems.

The South Africa-born batsman, currently sidelined with an achilles injury which forced him to miss the majority of the Ashes series this summer, said: "[Flintoff] puts such a workload through his legs and his knees and his ankles, I'm just a batsman. I love scoring runs for England."

Meanwhile, Flintoff admitted that his next injury is likely to be his last. The Lancastrian is in the early stages of recovery from his latest bout of knee surgery. And the 31-year-old admits the next serious setback will spell the end of his illustrious career.

"The next time I get injured, I will be gone," he said. "Realistically, with the operation I've had, I have a limited shelf-life. I'll try to draw that out for as long as I can.

"But if the knee or anything else goes, that will pretty much be it. I've been injured since I was 13. Me and bowling have never actually gone together."