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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 19:20 GMT
I'm ready for Ashes says Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff poses for the media before England depart for Australia.
Flintoff is crucial to England's chances of holding on to the Ashes
Andrew Flintoff is confident he will be physically ready for the challenge of captaining England in an Ashes series.

Flintoff returned for his country in the Champions Trophy in October, four months after undergoing ankle surgery.

But speaking before the 2130 GMT flight to Australia he said: "The chance to play again was invaluable.

"We have two three-day warm-up games before the first Test and that will be perfect. By the time we get to Brisbane we'll hit the ground running."

The tour starts with a one-day game against an Australian Prime Minister's XI at Canberra on 10 November.

It will be followed by matches against New South Wales and South Australia before the main business of the first Test in Brisbane, which begins on 23 November.

England won an Ashes series for the first time in 18 years in 2005 in what many have called the greatest Test series in the history of the game.

Hopefully we can do something special and create a buzz about cricket again over the next few weeks

Andrew Flintoff

Flintoff played a huge part in their 2-1 success, scoring more than 400 runs and taking 24 wickets.

This time he has the added responsibility of leading the side in the absence of Michael Vaughan, who is still working to regain full fitness after knee surgery.

The Lancashire star is not sure whether this year's contests will emulate last year's dramatic games but is determined to recreate the euphoria which surrounded their achievements.

"In England each Test match got bigger and bigger and we got a real feeling of what the Ashes was about," he enthused.

"We've been looking forward to this for a long time. It's something you dream about.

"Hopefully we can do something special and create a buzz about cricket again over the next few weeks."

606: DEBATE
bathcricket

Flintoff's squad contains several youngsters with no experience of Ashes contests, such as Alastair Cook, Monty Panesar, Liam Plunkett and Sajid Mahmood.

But the 28-year-old says they are relishing the chance to take on the world champions on their own turf.

"It's going to be tough but having the chance to go to Australia to compete against the best side in the world is something the lads are very excited about," he added.

"We'll go there confident, with a young and talented side looking forward to testing their wits against Australia in Australia.

"This is the reason we play the game - we're going over to play in what could be the biggest series ever.

"We're going out with quiet confidence and looking forward to the challenge."

ENGLAND PLAYER PROFILES

 

AUSTRALIA PLAYER PROFILES

 

SEE ALSO
England departure photos
03 Nov 06 |  Cricket
The team behind the team
03 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
Ashes venues guide
11 Oct 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes coverage 2006/07
01 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes archive
02 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
England in Australia 2006/07
15 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates
Giles passed fit for Ashes series
30 Oct 06 |  The Ashes
Mahmood upbeat over Ashes chances
25 Oct 06 |  The Ashes
Aussie fans warm up for Ashes
24 Oct 06 |  Cricket
Bold McGrath repeats 5-0 forecast
08 Oct 06 |  Australia


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