Aussies may feel the punch this time as Flintoff punchs in the ring

Published: Saturday, November 27, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Andrew Flintoff will be packing an extra bit of punch when England arrive in South Africa for a five-Test series next month.

The star all-rounder, who has skipped England's controversial trip to Zimbabwe, has instead been spending his time working out at a boxing gym in a run down neighbourhood near Manchester.

Gruelling sessions of sparring, skipping and pounding the punch bag have left the Lancashire star, who is not usually known for his dedication to the life of an athlete, in the best shape of his career.

"In the last fortnight, I've been coming every day," Flintoff told the Daily Telegraph. "It's been great. They work you really hard but it disguises training and you learning something. All this skipping is making me lighter on my feet."

It is not just the South Africans who could be made to suffer for the pain Flintoff has inflicted on himself.

Australia are due in England in 2005 and Flintoff, who has never played in an Ashes Test, is relishing the prospect of finally coming face to face with the old enemy.

"I would love to have played against them, but when they were over here last I was terrible, and when we were over there I was injured. Hopefully I'm going to play a full part when they come here next summer."

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