England’s injury-plagued all-rounder Andrew Flintoff fears his career would be over if his body breaks down one more time.
“I think the next time I get injured that will be that.
If the knee goes I will be gone as well. That will pretty much be it,” Flintoff was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
The 31-year-old, who rejected an England central contract to go freelance, is currently nursing a knee injury picked up during the Indian Premier League.
Flintoff said being injury-prone has made him fearful of his future now.
“I don’t think I would be in a position to say, ‘I can’t bowl 10 overs but I can bowl four’. Mentally I could put myself through it all again, but physically it is a different story,” he said.
“I have been injured since I was 13. Me and bowling have never actually gone together. When I made my England debut I had only been bowling about six or seven weeks coming back from a back injury that started when I was 13. Since then it has been up and down,” he recalled.
Flintoff said given his poor fitness record, he considers himself lucky to have played international cricket for so long.
“I am actually quite pleased I managed to get to 31 and play 70-odd Test matches because for the bulk of them I have been struggling. I’d love to play for years and years. If you spoke to Graham Gooch or Ian Botham they would love to make a comeback and play again — and I’m no different,” Flintoff said.
The talismanic player, who inspired England’s 2005 Ashes triumph, said he would look to make the most of what is left of his international career.
“Realistically, with the operation I have had, there will be a limited shelf life when I return. And I’ll try to draw that out for as long as I can.
“I do want to have the opportunity to play in the IPL and I do want to play in Australia. I wanted to go when I was 16 but my mum wouldn’t let me and every year since then I have toured so it is a personal ambition to go and play over there,” he said.
The all-rounder said visiting England troops posted in Afghanistan lifted his spirits after undergoing a career-saving knee surgery a few weeks ago.
“The visit put everything into perspective for me. I represent England at what I do in sport but they do it at a different level. I met some of the most impressive people I have ever met out there and the problems I have had pale into insignificance compared to what’s happening over there,” he said.
“It was a massively humbling experience. I have ultimate respect for them,” he added.