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Clarke defends England's handling of Flintoff

England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman Giles Clarke defended the governing body's handling of Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, London
UPDATED ON APR 29, 2009 01:50 PM IST

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Giles Clarke defended the governing body's handling of Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee.

Officials expect Flintoff to be fit in time for June's World Twenty20 tournament, which is being staged in England.

But the fact the all-rounder injured himself playing in South Africa during the cash-rich Indian Premier League led former captain Nasser Hussain, among others, to question the point of England's central contract system.

The injury-plagued Flintoff has such a lucrative contract, which is designed to give the England management control over when he plays and when he doesn't.

Hussain was angry that ahead of a season that includes two Tests against the West Indies, the World Twenty20 and an Ashes series that Flintoff, who has had four operations on his left ankle alone, as well as side, groin, shoulder and back problems, was allowed to play in a 'largely meaningless competition'.

But speaking on Sky Sports Clarke said the responsibility for appearing in the IPL was down to the individual player.

"We have a position now where it is after all in the end a matter for the player. Some Australian players (including captain Ricky Ponting) decided they wanted to stay fresh for the Ashes and the (Twenty20) World Cup," he said.

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