London: England captain Andrew Strauss praised Andrew Flintoff as the "ultimate impact cricketer" after the all-rounder announced his retirement from all cricket formats on Thursday having failed to overcome a knee injury.
"I would just like to say on behalf of the England team we would like to congratulate Andrew on an outstanding career," Strauss, speaking at The Oval ahead of the third one-day international against Pakistan at the south London ground on Friday, said.
"The impact he has had on English cricket has been immense," added opening batsman Strauss, a longstanding team-mate of former England skipper Flintoff, who quit Test cricket after the side's Ashes series win last year.
"The biggest memories I will have of him are how incredibly able he was to make something happen out of nothing with both bat and ball," said Strauss. "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. 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," Strauss said. "Andrew certainly did that."
Former England quick Stephen Harmison, still playing for Durham, added he felt "devastated" by the retirement of close friend Flintoff. "It's a sad day for English cricket," Harmison told Sky Sports News.
"I spoke to Andrew this (Thursday) morning and he was dejected and disappointed about having to make the decision.
"It's sad for everybody and it's devastating for Andrew -- that they're not going to see this talisman for England, this inspirational cricketer. It's devastating for me. What a wonderful career he's had."
But Michael Vaughan insisted there was life after retirement, saying he expected 'Freddie' to follow him in becoming a media pundit. "He will do something in television. I still think Freddie Flintoff has quite a lot to give the game," former England captain Vaughan told BBC Radio Five Live.
Vaughan, commenting on Flintoff's ability to empty bars at a ground, added: "He would then go and join them afterwards."