Flintoff declares himself fit for Ashes series

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff declared himself fit for this summer's Ashes series against Australia.

updated: June 30, 2009 10:38 IST
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England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff declared himself fit for this summer's Ashes series against Australia.

Flintoff, who captained England in 2007 when Australia strolled to a 5-0 whitewash, wants to use this week's three-day friendly against Warwickshire at Edgbaston to prove his right knee is free of injury.

He believes he is on target to be at his peak for the first Ashes test at Cardiff which begins on July 8. "For the past eight weeks since the knee operation, I've been working hard hopefully that is all behind me now," Flintoff said on Monday.

"I'll just keep maintaining my fitness and looking after my knee as well as my ankle. I've played three weeks for Lancashire, bowled my overs, managed to score a few runs, and I'm pleased where I am at this stage.

"This game with Warwickshire is the final piece of the preparation for the team and also for myself. I've played two championship games and three Twenty20s and so this last game is vitally important, for form and also to bowl some overs and to get some more runs."

Flintoff is keen for an extended spell of action after injuring his knee while playing in the Indian Premier League in April.

"Through all the injuries I had, if I didn't think I could come back and play the cricket I played in the past or be better, I don't think I would have done it," Flintoff said.

"You miss England more as you get older. When you have missed as much cricket as me, of course you do. I've had something like two years rehab since 2005 and it has been tough.

"The reason you do is to put back on that England shirt to get the chance to play in an Ashes series. I'm not far away from that now but, as you get older, you don't want to miss much cricket because you don't know how much you've got in you."

What Flintoff would rather forget is the Ashes series in Australia when humiliation followed the dramatic series win on home soil in 2005.

"The last Ashes was the low point of my career you experience the euphoria of 2005 and then the disappointments of 2006-07," he said. "But all that is behind us. We have got a very new team and, rather than dining out on 2005 or dwelling on 2006-07, it is all about what happens over the next six weeks.

"Of course, it was tough for a while after losing 5-0 but it has long gone now and a lot of things have happened in my life since 2006-07. As for any mental scars, I wouldn't say there are a great deal there."