London: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is to undergo a hernia operation on Friday, which will rule him out of both next week's final Test against India at The Oval and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy One-day tournament. After its defeat in the third Test at Headingley last week, England announced that Flintoff, who has been struggling with a groin problem throughout the season, would be seeing a specialist on Wednesday.
And on Thursday an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesman said of the 24- year-old Lancashire cricketer, "He is out of the fourth Test and the ICC Trophy as we had expected to be the case." Flinoff's withdrawal has left the selectors with a short-term headache as they try to pick a team for the fourth Test against India with the series level at 1-1 ahead of the decider. But by having Flintoff go into hospital now, with a subsequent month of recovery time, the aim is to ensure the player's fitness for this winter's Ashes tour of Australia and next year's World Cup.
Meanwhile there was no official announcement Thursday about Graham Thorpe's England future. Respected by the Australians as England's premier batsman, the England management are still waiting for Thorpe to advise them of his availability. But an England spokesman said he had no fresh news on Thorpe's situation.