ANDREW FLINTOFF’S announcement came as a surprise to no-one. It had become increasingly clear that his physique was not up to the rigours of Test cricket. Retiring from that is the best decision for him – the lesser workload will help his knee, and in any case his game is better suited to one-dayers and Twenty20.<br /><br />The timing may have raised eyebrows, but I can’t see it having any negative effect on the team.<br /><br />England’s squad is a close, well-drilled unit so they won’t let it disrupt them. A fit Flintoff is a fearsome weapon but England can win without him: recent results when he has been absent are better than when he has played. Flintoff is good but his record is not that of a great player like Shane Warne.<br /><br />You can bet your bottom dollar, however, that if he is fit to play in the rest of the Ashes, Flintoff will give absolutely everything to go out on a high. And it might only need a burst of magic – a 10-over spell in which he takes four wickets – to turn the series on its head.