Injury beset Flintoff set for World Cup fitness test

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003, 18:15 [IST]
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London: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is to undergo a fitness test on Monday, which he must pass to have a chance of playing in next month's World Cup.

Flintoff, 25, was sent home early from the Ashes tour having failed to recover from a double hernia operation and since then has been trying to get fit under the supervision of physiotherapist Dave Roberts at his county side Lancashire. Andy Flintoff, a hard-hitting batsman and medium-pace bowler, said he expected to come through the examination.

"I've been working for at least five hours each day in the gym, running and performing strengthening exercises," he told Saturday's edition of the 'Sun'. "I feel great and I'm raring to go. I've been bowling spells of between 10 and 12 overs in the indoor nets and I'm very confident of passing the test." But that will not guarantee his place in England's 15-man squad for the World Cup, which starts in South Africa on February 8. If he comes though Monday's test, he is set to return to Australia.

Once there England captain Nasser Hussain would like Flintoff to prove he is match-fit during the side's remaining games in the triangular One-day series also featuring Sri Lanka. "Andrew Flintoff needs to prove his fitness out here," Hussain said. "If after four or five months of being injured you are still not fit two weeks before a tournament, then there's very little chance. "But if he proves his fitness at the academy and can get in to play cricket with us for two or three weeks and get a game in, that's fine."

Flintoff has rarely reproduced his county form at international level and has been beset by injury and weight problems. Nevertheless, when available, he has been a regular member of both England's Test and One-day sides.

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