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Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Flintoff to return home from tour

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

Andrew Flintoff is to return home from England's tour of the West Indies on Friday to have treatment on his injured right hip.

The 31-year-old is due to fly back out to rejoin the tour on 10 March in time for the five-match one-day series.

The all-rounder sustained a muscle strain in his hip in the drawn third Test at St John's last week.

The problem kept him out of the fourth Test currently being played in Barbados and he will also miss the fifth Test.

"Returning to England allows me to get intensive treatment back home and work with people who have helped me overcome injuries in the past," Flintoff told BBC Five Live.

"The lads don't need me hanging around the dressing room.

"With an injury like this you have to allow it to take its natural course and over the past two days I've been doing some exercises. I've been happy with the way it's going.

"I'll put this down to wear and tear - it's a bowler's injury."

Flintoff also suffered a left-side strain in the opening week of the tour, prompting the selectors to call up all-rounder Ravi Bopara from the England Lions' tour of New Zealand as cover.

Bopara has taken Flintoff's place in the side for the fourth Test, in which England amassed 301-3 in the first day, and is likely to deputise for him again for the final Test in Trinidad which starts on 6 March.

Flintoff bowled flat-out in St John's as England chased victory in vain on the final day of the third Test but he was in visible distress because of the injury.

Flintoff would help his own cause if he could feature in the one-day international series

Arlo White, BBC radio 5 Live cricket correspondent

He spent Thursday's morning session in the fourth Test receiving physiotherapy in the dressing room in a bid to get fit again.

But after lengthy management discussions, the medical staff recommended he temporarily return to the UK to receive better rehab treatment, overseen by England's chief medical officer Dr. Nick Peirce and his own fitness guru Dave Roberts.

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said he was hopeful that Flintoff would rejoin the tour in time for the one-off Twenty20 international on 15 March and the five-match one-day series which takes place between 20 March and 3 April.

"We're determined that we are going to do everything possible to get Andrew fit for the one-day international series which starts in a couple of weeks time," said Morris.

"It is something we have done with Andrew before when he was recovering from his ankle injury.

"Being around the England team environment can be something of a goldfish bowl and by returning home he can concentrate on receiving some intensive treatment.

"A muscle tear is a muscle tear and time is a key ingredient in this."

The longer his injury takes to heal, the more scrutiny will be placed on Flintoff's lucrative deal with Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, which runs for three weeks in April.

Flintoff had earlier insisted he will recover from his injury in time to play in the IPL.


His first scheduled game is on 11 April for the Chennai Super Kings against Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Flintoff added that he wanted to return to action for England in the forthcoming limited overs series because he had "missed a lot of international cricket" stating it was "irrespective" of the IPL coming soon after.

England would prefer that the all-rounder concentrate on reaching peak fitness for this year's Ashes series against Australia rather go to India and risk suffering a relapse.

BBC Radio 5 Live cricket correspondent Arlo White said: "Flintoff would help his own cause if he could feature in the one-day international series - if he doesn't then the clamour for him to be withdrawn from the IPL would grow."

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association has already acknowledged 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," he said.

"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."

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see also
Flintoff expects to play in IPL
24 Feb 09 |  England
ECB may stop Flintoff IPL stint
22 Feb 09 |  England
Ponting puts Ashes ahead of IPL
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England players top IPL auction
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Jenner fears Aussie spin decline
23 Dec 08 |  Australia
Botham predicts 'easy' Ashes win
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Warne tempted by Ashes comeback
20 May 08 |  Australia
England list full Ashes schedule
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Warne to coach Australia spinners
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