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Flintoff expects to play in IPL

Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff picked up his hip injury in the drawn third Test in Antigua

Andrew Flintoff insists he will recover from his hip injury in time to play in the Indian Premier League in April.

The England all-rounder will miss the fourth Test against the West Indies, starting on Thursday in Barbados and is a doubt for the rest of the series.

But he is confident he will be fit to join the Chennai Super Kings franchise, which bought him for £1.1m at auction, for the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

"For all intents and purposes I'll be fit," Flintoff told The Guardian.

"The IPL's still a while away so I don't think it will be touch and go."

Flintoff, who has a muscle strain in his right hip, hopes to return for the fifth Test in the Caribbean, which starts on Friday, 6 March, and the Twenty20 match and five one-day internationals that run from 20 March to 3 April.

He said: "I'm intending to go to India, but it's not really at the forefront of my thinking - I want to play Test cricket and I want to play the one-day internationals."

And he insists that it is vital for England's players to play in the IPL with the ICC World Twenty20 taking place on home soil this summer.

606: DEBATE
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"As much Twenty20 cricket going into that World Cup will obviously benefit the side," he said.

"You see how the Indians have gone - it's had a knock-on effect in one-day internationals.

"Financially it's great, but to further our game and get better in that form of the game it's important we go."

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association said playing in the IPL could be a vital part of Flintoff's pre-Ashes preparation.

"It may well fit perfectly with his rehabilitation, he's got to bowl four overs a day in the warmth, where as 15 overs in Durham in a long sweater might be slightly less beneficial," Morris said.

He acknowledged, however, that the England and Wales Cricket Board would make the final decision on whether Flintoff goes to India or not.

"It is very clear that Andrew is centrally contracted, he plies his trade for England. The central contract states that the ECB have the ability to decide where and when contacted players will play.

"The players are comfortable with that, they don't have a problem at all but ultimately if it was touch and go, common sense would prevail and we wouldn't want to take any risk whatsoever," he said.

If he went out and played in a warm up match for Lancashire and got injured, people would say why is he doing that?

Sean Morris - PCA chief executive

Morris rejected any idea that there would be tension between the ECB and IPL over Flintoff.

"I can't see there being any tug of war between the franchise and England because Freddie is such a crucial part of the England set-up, he will want to perform during the summer and I know he will be working hard to make sure he is fully fit at the beginning of the summer.

"His responsibility will always be to England, he would be the first to say that, what we all want to see is Freddie fit, firing and knocking a few Aussies over.

"The reality of professional cricket is you can get injured in the nets at lords as much as you can playing in Chennai, so injury is part and parcel of the job.

"If he went out and played in a warm up match for Lancashire and got injured, people would say why is he doing that?"

The ECB has given permission for Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah permission to play in the IPL.

But chief executive David Collier suggested on Sunday that Flintoff may be prevented from taking part if he is deemed a fitness risk in an Ashes year.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke have already pulled out of the competition in order to focus on international cricket commitments.



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see also
ECB may stop Flintoff IPL stint
22 Feb 09 |  England
Ponting puts Ashes ahead of IPL
19 Feb 09 |  Australia
England players top IPL auction
06 Feb 09 |  Cricket


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