x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Flintoff on track for Ashes

England's talismanic all-rounder insists he will be able to play in the first Test of the Ashes series against Australia which begins on July 8.

MANCHESTER// England's talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff insisted 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 player had to sit out the ongoing World Twenty20 because he had not fully recovered from right knee surgery suffered during the Indian Premier League in South Africa in April. However he said that he was making good progress in his recovery. "Not being fit for the Ashes is not an option," Flintoff said. "I am bang up to where I want to be at this stage and I have had no ill reaction. So far so good." Flintoff bowled under the supervision of former England 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." England are keen to replicate their 2005 performance when they beat Australia at home and are planning to use the services of John Buchanan, the then coach of their arch-rivals. Buchanan yesterday confirmed joining England in a consultancy role but refused to elaborate if he would talk strategy for the Ashes. "It is my business who I talk to and what I talk about," he said. * AFP