Next
  • IND vs ENG 4th Test 8th December 2016 Mumbai
  • AUS vs NZ 1st ODI 4th December 2016 Sidney
  • AUS vs NZ 2nd ODI 6th December 2016 Canberra

The Ashes 2009: Strauss Steeled For Flintoff Decision

By on August 6, 2009

The Ashes 2009 - Andrew Flintoff

England captain Andrew Strauss has warned that talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will not play in the fourth npower Test at Headingley Carnegie on “sentimental grounds” alone.

Lancashire’s Flintoff bowled for 35 minutes in the nets today to test out his troublesome right knee, which has become something of a pin cushion since he announced this Ashes series was his final hurrah in Test cricket.

The reaction of the joint, iced intensively since the drawn third match concluded on Monday evening, will be discussed by Flintoff and the England medical staff before a decision on selection is made.

That is not likely to take place until tomorrow morning but Strauss has insisted he is prepared to make the toughest of decisions if he is not convinced Flintoff, 31, can get through a five-day match.

“When you’re captain of the team you’re motivated by what’s right for the team,” said Strauss.

“Obviously if Fred plays and has a detrimental effect on the team, it would be wrong for us to have made that decision on sentimental grounds and I think Fred would appreciate that himself.

“The last thing he wants to happen is to play and then not be able to fulfil a role in the game.

“It’s a dire situation for an individual: he will be very honest with us, and sentimentality is pushed to the back of all our minds.”

One thing going for Flintoff is the fact he has pulled through the first three Tests, turning in the crucial performance with the ball in the 115-run win at Lord’s which opened up the 1-0 advantage in the series, although that was done on the back of several cortisone and lubricating injections.

“From my point of view you’ve got to take the player’s view on board and listen to that very carefully because he knows his body better than anyone,” said Strauss.

“We need to take the medical opinion on board because they have got an idea of what might happen if he plays.

“But ultimately it’s the decision of both myself and the coach as to how full a part he might be able to play in the match.”

Today’s first workout with the ball since Birmingham did not appear to cause Flintoff too much discomfort in the immediate aftermath.

But Strauss urged caution when he said: “It’s not necessarily the pain he experiences while he is bowling, it’s about how much swelling there is afterwards and how sore it is afterwards.

“He certainly got the ball through but he didn’t look like he was playing at 100%.

“Sometimes a bowler doesn’t want to hit 100% the day before a game.

“The medical team will give an assessment of how likely it is he will break down and so far this series they have been very optimistic that under no circumstances will he break down.

“It might get more and more sore but he won’t break down.”

If Flintoff cannot stretch to a fourth match in just five weeks, then England will have to alter the balance of their side by either bolstering the batting with debutant Jonathan Trott or recall one of pace bowlers Steve Harmison or Ryan Sidebottom.

Typically, as has become the norm under the Strauss-Andy Flower regime, England are refusing to reveal their hand until the toss.

“Drawing Test matches is the last thing on our minds and will continue to be right through to the end of the Oval Test,” said Strauss.

“In a way that’s quite a liberating frame of mind to be in, this Test match in particular. A win here and it’s all over.

“We will only achieve it by putting the Australian team under a lot of pressure, and will only do that by starting the game well, so it is just one step at a time.”

James Anderson and Graham Onions have sliced through the Australian top order when the ball has swung but the attack has been less penetrative when the sun has shone and the track has flattened out, which would encourage the return of Harmison.

“Harmy is bowling beautifully, there is no doubt about that, and he is a genuine option to play in this Test match,” Strauss said.

“Ryan Sidebottom also bowled beautifully in the nets.

“There have been a lot of cases in the past where we have struggled to get three decent seamers on the park, now suddenly we have got five or six of them queuing up to play.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply