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Flintoff ready for India

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:22 IST
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Andrew Flintoff admits he is raring to go as he makes his long-awaited return to the England side for the Champions Trophy.

Skipper Flintoff has shaken off the effects of surgery on his left ankle which kept him sidelined for most of the English summer.

England have been planning to play their inspirational captain and leading all-rounder as a batsman only in the lead-up to their defence of the Ashes starting in Australia in November.

The 28-year-old quick has insisted he will bowl only if he reaches full fitness.

"I'm confident I'll be fine after the work I've done so far," he said.

"The 12-week rehab programme finishes in mid-October, to coincide with the India trip.

"It's going well at the moment. Everything I've done has responded well to the operation.

"I've been batting, I've done a few walk-through drills with the ball and I'll build up and see how I feel when I start to bowl a bit quicker."

Flintoff, however, fears that the international careers of top-class players will inevitably be shortened by the seemingly non-stop round of Tests and one-day internationals.

"I believe careers are going to get shorter with the amount of cricket we are playing," he said.

"It's not seasonal for us any more. We play in the summer and then we go away. If you look at the schedule we have got in the next few months there's not a great deal of time off.

"We've got the ICC Trophy, the Ashes; then when we get back from the World Cup we start back again in England next (northern) summer.

"For bowlers, especially, it's inevitable - with the strains and stresses - that they won't be able to go on as long as players did in the past."

But Flintoff, who missed most of the recently concluded English season, rejected suggestions made by legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham that he should miss the Champions Trophy in order to be fully fit for the Ashes.

"I can't wait to go to India, to be honest," said Flintoff. "I've missed 12 weeks of the season. I've trained hard and worked hard to get back out on the cricket field, so India is something I'm desperately looking forward to."

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