England get more time to announce CT team

Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: England were today given extra time by International Cricket Council (ICC) to name their squad for the Champions Trophy, brightening chances of star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff being named for the October-November India event.

Flintoff is recovering since undergoing a second operation on his left ankle in July and now undergoing warm-weather training in Portugal.

With the ICC extending time till September 10, the day England play their last ODI of the 5-match NatWest series against Pakistan at Edgbaston, prospects for the talismanic all-rounder to play in India has brightened up.

The deadline to name the squad for the India event, which is being touted as the mini World cup, expires on Thursday.''We're extremely grateful to ICC for this concession,'' Chairman of selectors David Graveney said in a statement.

''We have collected injuries during this NatWest series and we will now have more time to evaluate some of the replacements.'' Fast bowler Steve Harmison, who withdrew from the Pakistan series with back trouble, will also be given further tests, the satement added.

With some of their top players like Harmison, Darren Gough and Ashly Giles -- besides Flintoff -- sidelined due to injuries, England had asked time extension to name Champions Trophy squad.

Flintoff has not played for long but Graveney spoke recently of his optimism of including his star player and even talked of playing him only as a batsman.

Flintoff would also be a candidate to lead the team if passed fit, and it would be a tough choice between him and current stand-in captain Andrew Strauss.

But Graveney said the selectors haven't even discussed the question of the captaincy yet.

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