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Flintoff an absolute beauty, say Australian cricketers


London : Australian cricketers and rivals were all praise for England’s Andrew Flintoff Saturday and said his sportsmanship was second to none on the cricket field.

Flintoff, who was battling a prolonged knee injury, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket Thursday after medical advice from his doctor.

Freddie, as he is famously called, guided England to Ashes series victories in 2005 and 2009 and will be best remembered for the friendly pat on the shoulder he gave to Australian tailender Brett Lee in 2005 after England won the Edgbaston Test.

The 32-year-old all-rounder had already retired from Tests in 2009.

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee said Flintoff had a great presence on the field and was a lovable character.

“He is just a guy that has just given his all, who has been great for world cricket, and his sportsmanship is just second to none,” Lee was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“He is an absolute beauty.”

Lee said Flintoff’s roaring to the crowd after taking a wicket was an instant hit among the crowds.

“He is that lovable character. Not real lovable though when he is bowling 95 miles an hour at your ribs, I can testify to that.”

“Probably one of the most special moments in my career was that 2005 Ashes series and certainly that epic battle that we had at Edgbaston.

“Even though we lost, I would still put that down as one of my favourite games, purely the way it was played in and the sportsmanship that was on show,” said Lee.

Aussie great Adam Gilchrist said it was unfortunate the way Flintoff was forced to retire before his time.

“To hear someone say they are sad and disappointed tells me that it has been cut a bit shorter than he would have liked,” Gilchrist told reporters in Melbourne.

“England owe him a lot because in 2005 where he, just at all costs, was going to deliver those Ashes for his country.

“I don’t think his body ever really recovered from that, the sustained pressure that he put on himself and endured.”

Australia captain Ricky Ponting saw Flintoff as a key performer in the 2005 and 2009 Ashes series and labelled him as the ultimate big-game pl