England recall Flintoff
London, July 15:
England captain Michael Vaughan warned fans against expecting too much from Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder was recalled in a 12-man squad for the second Test against South Africa at Headingley, starting from Friday.
The fast bowler hasn’t played Test cricket for 18 months, since captaining England to Ashes defeat against Australia at Sydney in January 2007, because of ankle and side injuries. But he was added to the team that drew the first of this four-Test series at Lord’s on Monday.
England have fielded the same side for a world record six straight Tests and Vaughan was giving little away as to how room might be found for Flintoff although the out-of-form Paul Collingwood would appear to be the leading candidate to be dropped. Vaughan’s men badly missed Flintoff’s extra pace and movement with the ball when, after making South Africa follow-on, they only took three more wickets.
But the England captain insisted the decision to bring back Flintoff had been a long time in the planning and wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. “I always had it in the back of my mind to et ‘Freddie’ back into the team. He just needed another game to prove to himself,” said Vaughan.
However, Vaughan added: “He’s not a wizard, he’s not going to come and sprinkle dust, he’s just going to come and perform how he can. His stature in the dressing-room is also important and I’m sure opposition teams around the world would rather play England without Freddie Flintoff than with him.”
South Africa’s Neil McKenzie was unsurprised by Flintoff’s return to a squad from which reserve fast bowler Chris Tremlett was dropped.