x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Oval or out for Flintoff

The all-rounder faces a nervous wait to find out whether he will be ready in time for England's win-or-bust clash with Australia in nine days time.

Andrew Flintoff faces a nervous wait to find out whether he will be ready in time for England's win-or-bust clash with Australia in nine days time. The 31-year-old all-rounder, who underwent scans on his knee yesterday, is desperate to bow out of Test cricket by leading England to Ashes glory at the Oval.

Results are expected in the next few days with captain Andrew Strauss anxious to have his side's talisman available for their biggest game in years. Strauss is already fending off questions over why Flintoff was not selected for the embarrassing fourth Test defeat at Headingley - despite having confirmed he was ready to play. Flintoff's agent, Andrew Chandler, says the all-rounder was desolate after being informed of his omission from the starting line-up.

"I've never seen anybody as low as Flintoff when he was told he would not be selected," said Chandler. "He told them that he was fit enough to get through, that he felt no different to how he felt at Edgbaston [in the third Test] and that he could get through and do his bit. They didn't want him." Chandler has also criticised the England management for failing to observe Flintoff in a net session the day before the Leeds contest.

"What they didn't take into account during Thursday's practice was that there was no adrenalin," he added. "That was why he looked as though he was struggling. His presence would certainly have lifted the crowd and the team, because without him they don't have much inspiration." England have made Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Graham Onions, Graeme Swann and Ian Bell available for the next round of English County Championship matches.

Bowler James Anderson, meanwhile, will undergo treatment on the hamstring problem which curtailed his involvement in the fourth Test, but should be fit for the Oval. sports@thenational.ae