ICC World Twenty20 2009
Flintoff expected to miss World Twenty20
May 15, 2009
England could be forced to go into next month's ICC World Twenty20 without the services of their premier allrounder, Andrew Flintoff, after he revealed that he has yet to start running after undergoing surgery on a knee injury sustained during his brief stint at the IPL in April.
Flintoff was one of 15 players named in England's squad for the tournament, which starts at Lord's on June 5. But England could have to name a replacement if he cannot prove his fitness in the next three weeks. "I'd love to play in the Twenty20," he told Sky Sports, "but that might be too tight."
With the Ashes fast approaching in July, England desperately need Flintoff, 31, to be fully fit and firing before the arrival of the Australians. But despite his history of injury problems, which include a hip complaint that caused him to fly home midway through the tour of the Caribbean in March, he remains confident about recovering in time.
"I had an operation two weeks ago and I'm already off my crutches," he said. "The Ashes are a long way off - and I'll be fine for them."
England's Twenty20 captain, Paul Collingwood, conceded that the loss of Flintoff for the tournament would be a "huge blow", but felt sure that they would be able to make do without him.
"He's very much two players in one - as I've always said," said Collingwood. "But I think we've got quite a versatile squad with the players we've got in there. It would be a huge blow if he wasn't going to be fit, but we certainly have the players in the squad to overcome that in many ways."
Collingwood even raised the prospect of leaving Flintoff's place in the squad open for a late return, if he was able to recover in time. "Without Fred, it makes it very difficult to get the right balance between batters and bowlers in the final 11," he said Collingwood. "It's something we're going to have to gauge."