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Flintoff back for England

cricket Updated: Jul 18, 2008 00:17 IST

AFP
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Andrew Flintoff will play his first cricket Test in 18 months after England captain Michael Vaughan confirmed the all-rounder has been named in the team to play South Africa in the second match, starting here at Headingley from Friday.

Flintoff has not played Test cricket for 18 months, because of a combination of ankle and side injuries, since captaining the side during a defeat against Australia at Sydney in January 2007 which saw England lose the Ashes 5-0.

England have fielded the same team for a world record six successive Tests. But although Vaughan said Flintoff would bat at No 7, he did not reveal who he would replace in the side that drew the first Test at Lord's.

Vaughan said left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom was still struggling with the back strain that hampered him at Lord's and that, as a consequence, England would not name their side until the morning of the match in order to give the Nottinghamshire seamer time to prove his fitness.

England have added Hampshire seamer Chris Tremlett to their 12-man squad as a cover for Sidebottom.

"We are waiting on Ryan Sidebottom's injury," Vaughan told reporters. "He's got a stiff back today. We are not going to know until the morning whether he's available to play tomorrow. Chris Tremlett will come in as cover."

"I will say that Freddie will play. He'll play and bat at No7. Then the decision will be made whether we go for four bowlers or five bowlers. Whatever we chose, Freddie will bat at seven.

"I've always saw him more as a No 7. I think his style of play is very much suited to that position. He's very attacking.