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Freddie to go

Ex-players lavish praise on England's retiring all-rounder

Flintoff consoles Brett Lee in 2005

Andrew Flintoff's decision to retire from Test cricket after the ongoing Ashes series will be a big loss for England, according to a host of former players.

Flintoff announced his retirement plans on the eve of the second Ashes Test, a match both Australia and England will be determined to win following the dramatic stalemate in Cardiff.

The 31-year-old has been plagued with injuries since making his Test debut in 1998, and has now called it a day in a bid to prolong his one-day career.

And the popular Lancastrian his been inundated with praise from former team-mates and friends since his announcement - and you can add your own comments on his distinguished Test career via the form below...

Ricky Ponting: "He's been a great figure in the game. The way he's gone about his cricket, the way he's played the game and how much he's enjoyed the battle - probably particular in Ashes cricket - is something that's been very fun to be a part of for me."

Ashley Giles: "He was an electric cricketer, an absolute star on the pitch, a match-winner - and quite entertaining off the pitch as well. He's been a great servant to English cricket, so when he gives away Test cricket I think we all wish him the best."

Sourav Ganguly: "It's a big loss for England. I always said England needed to balance his bowling with his batting if they wanted him to survive longer in Test cricket. With England, every time they are under pressure it is Freddie with the ball because he is their best bowler. He's a big boy and injuries are part and parcel of sport, but there are other fast bowlers around the world who are running in and keep playing and doing well in Test matches. I think this has a lot to do with Freddie's body and at the end of the day he had to make a call on which version of the game he wants to play the most."

Graham Gooch: "It is a big loss for English cricket, because he has a presence about him. He's not been the biggest influence on all the Test matches he's played. But he does have a presence, and that brings others along with him. He has the ability to be able to get big players out. Certainly that was shown at the height of his career when England won the Ashes in 2005. He is a favourite of the fans who can relate to him. That sort of cricketer where you play as hard on (the field) as hard off the field. He's a dying breed, I'm afraid. The modern cricketer doesn't fall into that psyche, with all the trainers and off-field staff they have following them. I'm afraid that Fred is the last character to play Test cricket. They are few and far between nowadays."

Michael Atherton: "He'll look back on the 2005 series as the high point of his career, maybe his life, in years to come. He has been a very good Test match cricketer, not a great one but a very good one who had a great series in 2005. His career's not over because he'll want to play some more one-day international cricket. I suspect he'll feel absolutely fulfilled."

Angus Fraser: Andrew is one of those players you get everything from. You watch him bowling on a lifeless pitch against top Indian batsmen under a cloudless sky - and the bloke just runs in and gives you his all over and over. Eighty per cent or 75 per cent of what he wants to be is not enough. He puts his body on the line all the time, and if he cannot commit to that I suppose it just makes his mind up."