Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Andrew Flintoff likely to make Dubai home from home due to tax perks

Andrew Flintoff is due in Dubai this week, primarily to undergo extensive treatment on his right knee but also with a view to moving possibly permanently to the gulf state.
he move by Flintoff and his family will increase the likelihood that he will become cricket’s first Twenty20 hired hand if he manages to recover from a double multi-fracture operation performed at the end of the Ashes series.
Telegraph Sport understands Flintoff will live in Dubai until the new year. He will step up his rehabilitation as well explore the possibility of joining a string of sports stars, mainly golfers, who have made the region a permanent base.
“It’s always easier doing rehabilitation in warm weather and that’s the main reason why we’ve decided to go to Dubai,” said Flintoff.
The tax perks of living permanently in the United Arab Emirates will appeal to Flintoff, whose annual earnings were recently estimated at nearly £2½ million, making him the highest paid cricketer outside India.
He owes that financial power mainly to his contract with the Chennai Super Kings and moving closer geographically to India will allow him to have greater contact with his IPL team. It remains unclear whether they will have any say in his recovery plan but the costs of his medical treatment, which will include David Roberts, the Lancashire physio, travelling regularly to Dubai to oversee his fitness regime, will be covered by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Flintoff, 31, has been guaranteed that will be the case even if he does not receive a central contract when his deal expires at the end of the month. Andrew Chandler, Flintoff’s agent, held talks with Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, last week. Flintoff would be the first England cricketer to have retired from Test cricket and yet still receive a central contract and it is more likely that he will be awarded a deal for one-day cricket alone, subject to fitness.
Flintoff is still aiming to be fit in time for England’s tour to Bangladesh in February when the team are likely to play three one-day games and a Twenty20 match.
But whether Flintoff will reach a stage where he is capable of playing 50-over cricket remains unclear and his recuperation period in Dubai will be crucial to his long-term prognosis.
If he is restricted to Twenty20 cricket only then a move to Dubai would make financial sense. Next year’s revamped Twenty20 Cup is likely to be played in June, meaning that Flintoff would be able to continue playing for Lancashire without breaking tax rules which stipulate he must not spend more than 90 days in the United Kingdom.
Flintoff has a year remaining on his contract with Lancashire and their chief executive, Jim Cumbes, admitted last week that the club were seeking talks with Flintoff.
He has explored the possibility of moving to Dubai in the past to establish a cricket academy in the region. He has also used a winter break before as part of rehabilitation from a major surgery. In 2007 he spent several months in Florida while recovering from ankle surgery.
While Flintoff may well be forced to concentrate his energy on Twenty20 cricket, Ricky Ponting has announced his retirement from the short format at international level.
Michael Clarke is expected to take over the captaincy of Australia’s Twenty20 side as Ponting looks to extend his career and play in the 2013 Ashes. He will remain captain of the Test and one-day international side and returns to the tour of England this week for the fourth NatWest Series match at Lord’s. He will continue to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

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