Flintoff may return to T20s

London: Andrew Flintoff has had an operation to repair a torn shoulder ligament which looks set to end his boxing career after one bout but the possibility of a return to cricket remains.

It is unclear whether Flintoff sustained the injury during his fight with American Richard Dawson or his many months of sparring while training for the bout, but it is serious enough for him to require surgery which would leave him with many months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy if he decides to return to the ring.

His strict training regimen has left Flintoff leaner and fitter than at any stage of his sporting life while a return to professional sport reignited his competitive instincts leading to thoughts of a possible return to cricket.

The shoulder injury is serious enough for him to realise his fight career is over despite offers to box in America.

A return to play Twenty20 is one of many options on the table and he will make a final decision on his future in the New Year.

"The injury to his shoulder will be taken into account but at this stage we are ruling nothing in and nothing out," said a spokesman for Flintoff. "It is a nasty one but he has had a lot nastier during his life.

"We will just wait and see and report back in the New Year and see where we go. There are certainly leads to chase."

Flintoff has been offered fights since his win over Dawson and newspapers in New Zealand reported on Wednesday that cricketer Jesse Ryder is interested in a bout.

"It would have to fit into a window that didn't have cricket on because he couldn't do both, particularly if he was playing for the Black Caps, but we haven't made that decision yet," Ryder's manager Aaron Klee told The New Zealand Herald.

Flintoff retired from international cricket at the end of the 2009 Ashes series to have a major operation on his knee. It is an injury that prevents him from bowling and he would only be able to return to Twenty20 cricket as a batsman.

At 35, and after a three-year absence from the game, it is questionable whether he would be able to reach his old standards but with Twenty20 leagues springing up all over the world, and the Flintoff name still a potential box office hit, he is unlikely to be short of offers.

Since retiring from cricket Flintoff has concentrated on his television presenting career.


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