Andrew Flintoff is expected to cut short his ‘life’ in Dubai and return to the
UK permanently in the New Year following his decision to retire from all
cricket. Flintoff, 33, originally relocated to the Emirates tax haven 15 months
ago in his bid to return to full fitness following post-2009 Ashes knee surgery.
As well as offering the chance to retain up to 95 per cent of his estimated
£2million-a-year gross earnings, Dubai was also viewed as the perfect location
for a freelance cricketer intending to feature in Twenty20 tournaments across
the globe. In addition to the Indian Premier League, Flintoff was committed to
playing in Australia’s Big Bash and potentially for a team in South Africa. But,
having called time on his on-field career in September, the need for
warm-weather recuperation and geographical positioning has gone and he is
expected to pursue further television opportunities back home, from his Cheshire
village base, a stone’s throw away from England footballer Wayne Rooney.
England will have another Aussie in their ranks by the end of the Ashes tour
after the ECB confirmed that physio Kirk Russell is to leave his post after nine
years, following the fifth Test in Sydney. Russell’s replacement is Australian
Ben Langley, who joined Worcestershire two years ago. He will join up with
compatriots James Avery, the England team’s media manager, bowling coach David
Saker and security expert Reg Dickason in the away dressing room.
The English contingent among the prospective Indian Premier League uptake would surely prefer the player auction to take place on January 8, its current slot,
rather than have it delayed due to ongoing Indian internal wrangling. Their
market value will be at its highest just hours after the Ashes concludes -
providing they retain the urn.
The latest innovations in one-day cricket have been implemented in Zimbabwe,
where their 40-over competition has been a 13-a-side affair. Only 11 are allowed
to bat and field, meaning teams get the best of both worlds. Has baseball not
reached southern Africa yet?
Nothing like hearing the Australians sledge each other, is there? Mark Waugh, recipient of one of the greatest Ashes comments when England bowler Jimmy Ormond replied to Waugh’s observation that he wasn’t very good with “at least I’m the best player in my family”, tucked into Xavier Doherty between the second and third Tests. “He was chucking that many pies at Pietersen, he may as well have opened a bakery on days two and three,” Waugh junior said. Ouch.