'Best years' ahead says Flintoff
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'Best years' ahead says Flintoff

Having recuperated from injuries, the England batsman will face India at Southampton in the first of seven ODIs.

cricket Updated: Aug 18, 2007 17:53 IST

Andrew Flintoff reckoned the best years of his career could still be ahead of him as he prepared for his England return during the upcoming one-day series against India.

Injury problems have beset the all-rounder since he played a leading role in England's 2005 Ashes success but, following a fresh bout of surgery on his troublesome left ankle in May, he is due to face India in Southampton on Tuesday in the first of seven one-day internationals.

Flintoff told Britain's Sun newspaper: "I believe the injury could actually help extend my career because I feel mentally very fresh. I won't be playing when I'm 50 but I'm only 29 and there's a lot left in me. I hope my best years are ahead of me."

For all his Ashes triumphs in England, it was a different story for Flintoff come the return series in Australia during the 2006-07 season.

The Lancashire star, leading England in the absence of injured captain Michael Vaughan, saw Australia win back the Ashes 5-0.

Then at the World Cup, which followed England's tour of Australia, he was stripped of the vice-captaincy after a drinking session ended with him going out on a pedalo in the early hours of the morning in St Lucia.

"For two or three years, most things went the way I wanted," said Flintoff. "But I've had some setbacks with injury, losing the Ashes, struggling in the World Cup - and even the pedalo business."

He added, "But I really feel I can get better. My bowling is improving and I've been working hard on my batting."

"The ankle feels great. The operation was something I needed and everyone is pleased with what I've been able to do since."

First Published: Aug 18, 2007 16:36 IST