ICL: Indian Cricket League

England consider arranging more matches for fitness seeking players


England are considering arranging more matches to allow their injured players, and Andrew Flintoff in particular, to get match-fit before the winter’s Ashes series.

Already without captain Michael Vaughan, who is hoping to make his return from knee surgery in January, England fear the comeback of Andrew Flintoff could be delayed by a lack of available action.

Flintoff is due to have a second operation on his troublesome left ankle this week which will sideline him for three months, ruling him out of the Pakistan Test and one-day series and establishing him as a major doubt for October’s ICC Champions Trophy in India.

But without playing in the Champions Trophy, Flintoff will be desperately short of match action before England arrive in Australia for a one-day match and two three-day games prior to the opening Test in Brisbane on November 23.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney has admitted to being ìmischievous” when he suggested Cricket Australia (CA) may want to help arrange practice matches, but it is an avenue England may consider anyway.

“I was being a little mischievous when I said that, but there are a couple of areas we may look at,” he explained. “We know (former Hampshire batsman) Paul Terry has a set-up in Perth and we could look at setting up matches in India, so there are a couple of places we could go to if we felt it would help.”

CA said on Monday any decision to send Flintoff to an Australian club side would be between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the relevant state association. “It’s a hypothetical situation. We haven’t been approached and it’s an area that would be looked at by the state associations,” a CA spokesman said. “(But) There are no statutes that we are aware of that would prevent it from being possible.”

Flintoff remains a priority for England but the same could apply to injured duo Ashley Giles (hip) and Simon Jones (knee), although both of them remain major doubts for the Ashes because they are yet to play this season.

Source:The News

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