England cricketers, past and present, on Wednesday queued up to pay glowing tributes to all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who announced his retirement from Test cricket after the Ashes series.
Flintoff, who played a crucial role in England regaining the 2005 Ashes after an 18-year gap, has been plagued by a recurrent knee injury that forced him to quit Test cricket to prolong his one-day and Twenty20 career.
England captain Andrew Strauss admitted he saw it coming.
"As players, we've had a feeling this was coming sooner rather than later with the injuries he's had over the last couple of years," Strauss said.
"Test match bowling puts so much pressure on his body that this seemed the logical thing to do," he said.
Strauss, however, hoped Flintoff would give of his best in the last four Tests of the Ashes series and would like to go out with a bang.
"It's sad that he's made this decision at this age but maybe it will make him more motivated for the next four Tests. He wants to go out with a bang," he said.
The captain also sounded confident of Flintoff making the England starting XI in the second Test against Australia, beginning at Lord's from Thursday.
"We spoke to the medical staff and we would never play a guy in a Test if we didn't have a huge amount of confidence that he could get through," he said.