I'll make the Ashes, insists Flintoff

England's talismanic allrounder Andrew Flintoff insisted he would be able to play in the first Test of the Ashes series against Australia.

updated: June 10, 2009 16:51 IST
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England's talismanic allrounder Andrew Flintoff insisted on Tuesday he would be able to play in the first Test of the Ashes series against Australia which begins on July 8.

The 31-year-old Lancashire star has been plagued by injuries over the past few years.

He had to sit out the ongoing World Twenty20 competition because he had not fully recovered in time from right knee surgery after he suffered the injury during the Indian Premier League series in South Africa in April.

However he told the BBC that he was making good progress in his recovery and was back to bowling outside.

"Not being fit for the Ashes is not an option," Flintoff told the BBC.

"I am bang up to where I want to be at this stage and I have had no ill reaction. So far so good."

The 31-year-old bowled outdoors under the supervision of Lancashire coach Peter Moores prior to his team's County Championship match against Somerset at Old Trafford.

"He has progressed really well," said Moores, who would not be drawn on Flintoff's chances of playing.

"I always take a back seat from the cricket side and let the medical staff tell me when he is ready.

"If they turn around to me and say the bloke can play then we will sort something out. It's all gone very well and probably better than some people expected in many ways.

"He is coming to Durham (for their county match on Thursday) whatever. It's part of his whole rehab, to be integrated into the team here and back into cricket," added the former England coach, who stepped down along with then captain Kevin Pietersen after they fell out.

Moores, however, would not give a definitive date for his return.

"We won't look at games until he is declared fit. That is the way it goes," said Moores.

"We can then make a choice on what cricket is around, what fits the schedule, to get him back."

Flintoff, who has courted controversy in the past going for a pedalo ride during the 2007 World Cup and turning up the worse for wear for a fielding practice during the 2006/07 Ashes series when he was captain of the side, has appeared in 75 tests and 141 one day internationals since making his first England appearance in 1998.

However, injuries have played an increasing role in his career and he was forced to return early from the test series in the West Indies earlier this year because of a hip injury.

He did return to the Caribbean for the one day series and played a pivotal role by taking a hat-trick in the fifth and decisive match.