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Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 12:26 UK

Flintoff progress pleases Moores

Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff has played 75 Tests since his England debut in 1998

Lancashire coach Peter Moores is confident England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is making good progress in his recovery from knee surgery.

Flintoff had keyhole surgery to repair a slight tear in his knee cartilage back in April with concerns over whether he would be fit for the Ashes.

But the 31-year-old returned to action for Lancashire this week, taking six wickets in the loss to Durham.

"He's come through it really well," Moores told Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"He played a little bit sooner than we thought but he had a really good week at Old Trafford, bowled for three or four days increasing in intensity, and then was declared fit for the game against Durham," added Moores, who was sacked as England coach in January.

"Physically he's quite tired because when you've not played competitively for a couple of months, never mind his knee, just the whole body, it's getting used to match intensity again.


"He bowled nicely, got six wickets in the game and bowled with good pace.

"He didn't get a score with the bat but it was a tough game to come in to bat. It was a low-scoring game with a very good bowling attack on both sides, they had Steve Harmison and Graham Onions.

"It was good for Fred because it was an intense game of cricket and that's the sort of cricket he's going to get himself ready for.

"It was a good warm-up for him building up to the game for us (Lancashire) this week and the Ashes later in the summer."

Flintoff was forced out of the Indian Premier League with a meniscus tear in his right knee and went on to miss the series against the West Indies and the ICC World Twenty20.

Flintoff, who scored just three runs in his two innings against Durham, was widely expected to be held back for this week's match against Hampshire at Liverpool but the decision to play him was taken in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

And Moores insists Flintoff will not be match fit to face Australia in the Ashes this summer unless he plays as much competitive cricket as possible before then.

"Any sportsman will tell you, you can't play top-flight sport until you've got some matches under your belt," added Moores.

"You can train as long as you like but you've got to get back into the pace of the game.

"For Fred to make a difference in the Ashes series, he knows he's got to play. He's on that road at the moment. He's got one game under his belt with another game for Lancashire this week.

I'm taking the best medical advice and I'm doing everything I can to face Australia but, occasionally, Achilles injuries do flare up

Kevin Pietersen

"We've then got some Twenty20s and England will possibly have some warm-up games so there's quite a bit of cricket for him to get his teeth into which he needs to get confident, get a bit battle-hardened and ready to go before the big stuff starts.

"I am in no doubt he will be ready for the Ashes. England can win without him but I think they will be a better side with him in the team.

"To have Freddie there would be a real boost for England, one, he's skill and also his experience of going head-to-head with Australia."

Meanwhile, another England match-winner - Kevin Pietersen - is facing an epidural injection in order to be fit for the Ashes.

The 28-year-old has a nerve-related Achilles injury and Pietersen admits it has the potential to wreck his summer.

"I'm taking the best medical advice and I'm doing everything I can to face Australia but, occasionally, Achilles injuries do flare up. If that happens on the morning of a Test then I wouldn't be able to take part," he told the News of the World.

"In order to fix an Achilles injury like this properly I probably do need two or three months out of the game.

"Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. I'm a man who wants to play every game for England and as much as I can. As long as I can walk I will play."

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see also
Flintoff helps put Lancs on top
11 Jun 09 |  Counties
Flintoff shines on shock return
11 Jun 09 |  Lancashire
I'll be fit for Ashes - Flintoff
09 Jun 09 |  England
Injured Flintoff out of Twenty20
27 May 09 |  England
Flintoff knee surgery 'a success'
28 Apr 09 |  England
Flintoff to undergo knee surgery
24 Apr 09 |  England

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