Flintoff: My body has told me it's time to quit Tests

ENGLAND&rsquo;S Ashes preparations took a shock turn yesterday when talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff announced the current series would be his last in Test cricket.<br /><br />Ahead of today&rsquo;s second clash with Australia at Lord&rsquo;s, Flintoff said persistent injury problems over the last four years had forced him to reduce his workload.<br /><br />The 31-year-old will continue to represent England in one-day internationals and Twenty20, play at county level for Lancashire, and turn out for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.<br /><br />Flintoff, a hero of the 2005 Ashes triumph, is also hopeful of being fit to play in the second Test and the rest of the series.<br /><br />But he conceded the demands of a full England schedule would put too much strain on a body that has been ravaged by a series of injuries.<br /><br />&ldquo;My body has told me it&rsquo;s time to stop,&rdquo; Flintoff said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been through four ankle operations, I had knee surgery just a couple of months ago and had three jabs in my knee on Monday just to get me right for this Test.<br /><br />&ldquo;Excuse the pun, but it&rsquo;s not a knee-jerk reaction, it&rsquo;s something I&rsquo;ve been thinking about for a while. For my own sanity I can&rsquo;t keep going through rehabilitation &ndash; I think I&rsquo;ve done two years in the past four.&rdquo;<br /><br />Flintoff defended the timing of his announcement and vowed to devote himself to the remaining four matches of the series.<br /><br />&ldquo;I just wanted to get it out there. I think the time is right,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll give my utmost for England to try and contribute to an Ashes win.&rdquo;<br /><br />England, meanwhile, have batsman Kevin Pietersen fit for the second Test after an injection in his Achilles. Australia are again without fast-bowler Brett Lee.<br /><br />England captain Andrew Strauss said Flintoff&rsquo;s Test retirement had not surprised the squad, adding: &ldquo;We respect his decision and hope he can go out with a bang.&rdquo;<br /><br />Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said the tourists took a different view. He said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;re a little bit surprised to tell you the truth. We&rsquo;re all eager now to see if he&rsquo;s fit to play in the game tomorrow.&rdquo;