Flintoff hailed as `the ultimate impact cricketer`

London: England captain Andrew Strauss has called all-rounder Andrew Flintoff "the ultimate impact cricketer" who would put his "body on the line" for his team.

Flintoff has announced his retirement from all formats of cricket because of a long-standing knee injury.

"He was always the ultimate impact cricketer, somebody who on so many occasions stepped up to the plate. He would put his body on the line on flat wickets when other bowlers were maybe starting to struggle," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Strauss, as saying.

"Because of the way he bowled, and what he put into it, it was probably not as easy for him to get seven-fors and eight-fors, but if you talked to other players around the world, they would always say Andrew was one of the bowlers they least wanted to face - because he could be so hostile."

"We are all striving to gain the respect of our peers. Andrew certainly did that," he added.

From his debut in 1998, Flintoff became an integral player for England, and has both captained and vice-captained the team.

However, he suffered regular injuries throughout his international career, often due to his heavy frame and bowling action.

During the period 2007-09, he played in only 13 of England`s 36 Test matches, but nevertheless remained a core member of the England squad, being selected whenever available.

The 32-year-old had announced his retirement from Test cricket at the conclusion of the 2009 Ashes series in August, but had kept himself available in ODI and Twenty20 matches.