London: Andrew Flintoff will miss England's first two Test matches against New Zealand after suffering a side strain playing for Lancashire.
The 30-year-old allrounder was expected to return to international action in next week's opening Test at Lord's after impressing for Lancashire following his latest ankle operation.
But Flintoff's name will be absent when Michael Vaughan's squad is named on Sunday after the all-rounder complained of soreness to his left side during his county's win over Durham.
It is the latest setback for Flintoff after 16 months battling a series of ankle problems which has seen him return with excellent bowling figures but offset by dreadful batting as he has recorded four ducks already this season.
His rehabilitation from a fourth surgery on his left ankle had been going well, but his comeback will be postponed until the third Test at Trent Bridge on June 5 at the earliest.
"Obviously I'm bitterly disappointed to be unavailable for Test selection due to this injury as I'm really enjoying my cricket with Lancashire and feel my bowling has been improving with each match," Flintoff said.
"I've put in a lot of hard work to get to this point after ankle surgery last year and I know I can overcome what isn't a significant injury.
"It's very frustrating to have picked up an injury at this time, but I want nothing more than to return to the England side and will continue to do everything required to make myself available for selection."