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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 09:49 GMT
Flintoff to skip Bangladesh Tests
Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff is thought to be recovering well from ankle surgery
Andrew Flintoff has been cleared by England to start the season with his county Lancashire instead of playing in the two-Test series against Bangladesh.

The all-rounder returned early from England's tour of South Africa to have an ankle operation.

He could make his comeback as a batsman in Lancashire's opening Championship game against Somerset next month.

Mike Watkinson, Lancashire's director of cricket, said: "When he bowls and how much will be up to him."

Watkinson, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, added: "The plan is that 'Freddie' will start off playing just as a batsman and then gradually build up to bowling a few overs."

Flintoff is unlikely to be used in the two Test matches against Bangladesh in May and early June.

He may even miss some of the one-day internationals which precede the main event of the summer - the Ashes Test series against Australia.

Instead, he is likely to play in a large chunk of Lancashire's Championship matches.

He is working to a plan drawn up by the England and Wales Cricket Board with the aim of producing him in mint condition for the first Test against Australia which starts on 21 July at Lord's.

Flintoff played only six Championship games in the last three years, most recently in June 2003.

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