England's cricket chief Giles Clarke is worried about injured Andrew Flintoff playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but believes the all-rounder will put his England commitments first.
Flintoff, who has a hip injury, is confident of fulfilling his commitments with the Chennai Super Kings in April after signing a record $1.55 m deal but his IPL contract has become a source of worry for Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), given its timing at the start of an Ashes summer.
"I am deeply worried about Andrew Flintoff going to India. That point has been made to Hugh (Morris, the ECB's managing director). It is a definite risk. In any event, the injury he's currently suffering from may not be sufficiently mended for him to go anyway."
However, Clarke was confident that Flintoff would pull out of the lucrative Twenty20 competition if he felt his fitness for the series against Australia would be jeopardised.
"Andrew Flintoff is a serious patriot and a guy who absolutely, I am totally convinced, wishes to replay his role of 2005 Ashes hero," Clarke said. "He wants to be fit to stand in the middle of the pitch with his hands held high as yet another Australian is dismissed by him.
"I am quite sure Andrew Flintoff will be looking after himself with the greatest care. Andrew is no fool and I am sure he will do the right thing for him and for English cricket," Clarke added.