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Injury cloud over star man Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff, the totemic all-rounder, could be set for another frustrating spell on the sidelines.

Andrew Flintoff, the totemic all-rounder, could be set for another frustrating spell on the sidelines. Flintoff, who is crucial to the make-up of the England side in both formats of the game, is a doubt for the back-to-back Test matches in Barbados and Trinidad starting next Thursday. He may also sit out the subsequent five-match one-day international series in the Caribbean after injuring his right hip.

Depending on the extent of the injury, Flintoff's participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) could even be in jeopardy. The Chennai Super Kings paid a record $1.55million (Dh5.5m) to secure the services of the strapping Lancastrian for a month in May and his fitness may spark a tug-of-war between the ECB and the IPL. England's medical staff will be reluctant to allow their star all-rounder, who has a history of injury problems, to play and risk aggravating any ailment, especially with a home Ashes series on the horizon. But they could find their are hands tied.

Flintoff, 31, has been plagued by a troublesome ankle problem over the last two years and has also spent time on the treatment table with a side strain. He is renowned for playing through the pain barrier yet such was his pain, that he required an anti-inflammatory injection during the third day's play. England's travelling fans sensed their was a problem with the all-rounder during the second day's play when he celebrated the wicket of Ryan Hinds in rather muted fashion.

Normally brimming with aggression, Flintoff did not operate at full throttle throughout the Test match, managing just three overs at a reduced speed on Wednesday evening and bagging a pair after coming in down at the order at number nine. "The big lad is in a bit of pain," said Steve Harmison, the quick bowler and Flintoff's close friend. "Although he has not carried our bowling line-up, he has been our man to go to.

"Where he goes from here nobody knows." * With agencies

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