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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
England 'must play without fear'
A Flintoff
Over the next few weeks we will start some planning and thinking about how we go about it

Andrew Flintoff
England captain Andrew Flintoff said it was vital for his team to enjoy themselves during what will be a tough tour of Australia this winter.

Flintoff, who leads a squad of 16 to defend the Ashes, said: "It's going to be tough playing them at home but we have to go out and play without fear."

The all-rounder, keen to draw a line under his injury problems, expects to bowl in October's Champions Trophy.

"In the next few weeks I will start bowling again," said Flintoff.

He had to have an operation on a bone spur problem on his ankle in July and missed the rest of the summer.

But he sounded upbeat about his recent rehabilitation and looked fit when interviewed at The Oval on Tuesday.

"I'm pleased with my progress," he said. "I've started running again and everything we've asked of [the ankle] so far it's responded well to."

Flintoff, who had led England to two Test victories in six appearances as captain, went on: "I am very proud, and very excited.

"Over the next few weeks we will start some planning and thinking about how we go about it."

Andrew Strauss, who led England to a 3-0 Test victory over Pakistan this summer while Flintoff was out with his injury, only just missed out on the captaincy.

And Flintoff said he was keen to "touch base with him properly" after leaving a message on his mobile phone voicemail.

The 28-year-old Lancastrian also rejected fears that he would have too much on his plate by being captain.

"A lot of people do the worrying for me," he said. "I'm excited about it, I relish the opportunity to do it.

"Last summer was something special. Some of the lads experienced that euphoria and want it again; some of the lads saw it on TV and wanted to be part of it.

"There's huge excitement. It's a young side, with a lot of excited young lads and I'm pleased with the lads in the squad."

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