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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Andrew Flintoff in big demand

ANDREW Flintoff's declaration that he wants to play in Australia is likely to spark a fierce interstate bidding war for cricket's freelance gun for hire.

In an expansive interview in England overnight, Flintoff insisted one of his last remaining cricket goals was to play in Australia where his explosive all-round talents would attract a pot of gold.

"I'm hoping to play more for Lancashire and in the Indian Premier League. Another ambition is to play in an Australian domestic tournament," Flintoff said.

Flintoff recently joined Australia's Andrew "Roy" Symonds in becoming a freelance short-game player when he rejected a second-tier contract from the England Cricket Board.

The man they call Freddy is out of action now after knee surgery but states are already lining up to secure his services as a Twenty20 player in the 2010-11 Big Bash competition.

South Australia last night confirmed they were "aggressively pursuing" Flintoff and one of their key selling points was the relaxed lifestyle in Adelaide for Flintoff, his wife Rachael and young family.

"We have made no secret of the fact that we are after Flintoff and we have already talked to him on several occasions," a SACA spokesman said.

Queensland is another state that is in the market for Flintoff after already showing interest in the world's premier allrounder.

Bulls coach Trevor Barsby says he would love to have Flintoff on deck but one sticking point could be the price the allrounder would demand.

It is believed Flintoff is seeking a two-year domestic deal in Australia and he would be able to demand a base price of at least $120,000 in the Big Bash.

That payment may be topped up by Cricket Australia who would be just as keen to see Flintoff playing in Australia after claiming they wanted to turn the Big Bash into a "Bigger Bash".

Queensland Cricket boss Graeme Dixon confirmed the Bulls' interest in Flintoff but said they did not have a bottomless pit of cash.

Other states such as NSW, which has already shown a liking for big-name international stars after recruiting Kiwi Brendon McCullum last season, are also likely to join the race to secure Flintoff.

Flintoff also wants to continue playing one-day cricket for England and become the world's best limited overs cricketer at the next World Cup in 2011. He denies he has done anything wrong by snubbing the ECB's contract offer.

"I'm comfortable in what I've done," he told The Guardian in England.

"I know what I'm doing, sincerely. I'm in a good position to know when I can play, and when I can't. I'll never duck out of an England game."

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