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Team plans Flintoff's surprise return

The England all rounder can play only as a batsman for Lancashire Second XI to hasten his return to the national team.

cricket Updated: Jul 21, 2007 16:33 IST

England are planning for their injured star all rounder Andrew Flintoff's return to play against India in the seven-match one-day cricket series, beginning at the Rose Bowl on August 21.

According to leading British daily The Guardian, Flintoff, recuperating from a third operation on his left ankle, could next week play only as a batsman for Lancashire Second XI to hasten his return to the national team.

"England and Wales Cricket Board medical staff are hoping to get permission from Lancashire to ease him back into action for the three-day game against Derbyshire Second XI starting at Blackpool on Tuesday.

"If that game goes well, Flintoff might then turn out, again as a batsman only, for Lancashire in their one-day game against Sri Lanka A at Aigburth, before playing as an all-rounder in Twenty20 final at Edgbaston on August 4," the paper reported.

"Should all go according to plan, it would be the first time he has bowled in competitive cricket since May 9," it added.

Flintoff, who was operated on at the beginning of June, has not played for his county since a Friends Provident Trophy match against Yorkshire at Old Trafford on May 20.

Lancashire, however, have said they were unaware of any plans for Flintoff to represent their second XI.

England's main priority will be making sure Flintoff is fit in time for the 2009 Ashes series but the new coach Peter Moores's comment before this game that "you are better looking forward" suggests that the management might one day have to prepare for a time when Flintoff is no longer part of the selectors' plans.