Sunday, April 12, 2009

Flintoff dismisses IPL fitness fears

Andrew Flintoff does not believe playing in the Indian Premier League will have a detrimental effect on his performances for England because of the amount of cricket he has missed in the last year.

The 31-year-old has had several niggling injuries, the latest of which was a hip problem that ruled him out of the final Test and first two one-day internationals in the West Indies.

It has been suggested Flintoff should be wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the Ashes this summer, but the all-rounder told Radio Five Live's Sportsweek: "I don't know about that. I have missed so much cricket through injury that I don't want to miss any more."

He added: "I've not played a lot of Twenty20 cricket and I'd like to play more. I'm not saying the money is not very appealing, but there's a lot more to it.

"I spent several weeks working very hard at my fitness when I came back from the West Indies and, hopefully, that will stand me in good stead come the summer."

Other England players, notably Kevin Pietersen, have said the rigours of a long winter away have taken their toll, and Graeme Swann even likened the events of the last few months to an episode of Eastenders.

Flintoff's Caribbean tour may have been interrupted by injury but he was involved in the debates following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and he insists missing home is normal.

"It's been a tough winter all round," he said. "Going to India before Christmas with everything that happened, and coming home and going back, was testing for everyone.

"There have been lots of things going on. These are long tours. We are proud to play for England but people have got things at home as well and families who you desperately miss when you're away. When you come to the end of a trip, of course people are looking forward to getting home and seeing people you haven't seen for a long time."

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