Mike Gatting plays down Andrew Flintoff snub

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The Independent Football

Former England captain Mike Gatting has played down the implications of Andrew Flintoff's decision to reject an ECB contract in favour of becoming a freelance player.

Having already retired from Test cricket at the end of the Ashes, Flintoff severed his formal ties with the board by snubbing their offer of an incremental deal, which would give England a say in the player's schedule but offers a fraction of the money he earned on a central contract.

Instead, the all-rounder intends to travel the globe in a variety of one-day and Twenty20 tournaments, with the aim of becoming the best limited-overs player in the world.

He has reaffirmed his commitment to England in the process, provisionally making himself available for both the Bangladesh tour and the World Twenty20, either side of a stint for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

Current England skipper Andrew Strauss has said the team management will need to sit down with Flintoff before a final decision is made on his international future.

And although the hierarchy may be uneasy with his decision to take full control of his own itinerary, Gatting does not see it as an immediate threat to his international prospects.

"Economically, you can't blame him," Gatting told Press Association Sport.

"I think there are discussions to be had but it's about what Fred wants more than anything else and whether he's happy to commit as an England one-day player.

"He's made it perfectly clear already he wasn't going to play Test cricket anymore. It's now up to Andrew Strauss and (team director) Andy Flower who are going to have to sit down, maybe with Hugh Morris, and talk what their best options are and how it's going to work."

Gatting also rejected suggestions that Flintoff's decision could pave the way for a new wave of players replicating his decision to cut ties with their national board.

"I don't know about that," he said.

"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."