Flintoff confident of IPL participation

Barbados, February 24: Andrew Flintoff has said he has no plans to pull out of the Indian Premier League in April, despite England’s concerns over the hip injury that has already forced him to miss Thursday’s fourth Test against West Indies in Barbados.

Earlier this month Flintoff became the joint-richest player in the IPL – alongside his England team-mate Kevin Pietersen – when he was bought by Chennai Super Kings for US$1.55million. He is expected to play for the franchise for three weeks ahead of the first Test of England’s home series against West Indies (which starts on May 6), a prospect he described yesterday as “great fun”.

But the prospect will be less fun for Flintoff and England if he ends up exacerbating an injury that troubled him throughout the drawn third Test in Antigua last week, especially with the twin challenges of the ICC World Twenty20 and the Ashes fast approaching next summer.

Flintoff does not yet know whether he will be fit to play in the final Test of England’s Caribbean tour, starting on March 6 in Trinidad, but if he does sit it out, the ECB could be forced to invoke injury-related clauses to prevent him playing for Chennai from the start of the tournament on April 10. David Collier, the ECB’s chief executive, said in The Guardian that they could force any player to withdraw who “was carrying an injury that may affect his participation in the Ashes series”.

Flintoff himself is confident about his powers of recovery, however. “I don’t think it will be touch and go,” he said. “The IPL’s still a while away so for all intents and purposes I’ll be fit for that. I’m intending to go but it’s not really at the forefront of my thinking. I want to play Test cricket and I want to play the one-day internationals.

“I’m not in the Barbados Test and there’s a chance I’ll play in Trinidad but I’ll have to see how it settles down. We’ll see how the next week goes. If we’ve got to get it rescanned, we’ll see what happens. If I’m being honest I don’t know.”