Flintoff determined to play through the pain barrier

LONDON: Allrounder Andrew Flintoff insists only a “very, very serious” injury would stop him firing England’s bid to regain the Ashes from Australia.

Flintoff was named man of the match after a second-innings five-wicket haul in England’s dramatic second Test victory over Australia at Lord’s. The 31-year-old’s performance came despite the pain of a persistent knee problem, which has put his fitness for the third Test at Edgbaston in doubt.

But Flintoff, who last week announced his retirement from Test cricket at the end of the series, is determined to go flat out for the remaining three Tests.

Flintoff said: “The good thing was I bowled a lot of overs and kept my pace up. “I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little bit sore but I was confident when making the announcement that I was retiring from Test cricket that I had four to go, and now it’s three. It’d have to be something very, very serious not to play in the next three Test matches.”

Although his Lord’s performance showcased Flintoff’s ability, he added that he would not be tempted to go back on his retirement decision. “There are no thoughts of changing my mind,” he said.

“The things I am going through to get on the cricket field I can do short term but I won’t be able to do it much longer.”

With three Test matches still to go and only a 1-0 lead, he also warned his England team members not to rest on their laurels.

The allrounder further added: “It is nice with a lot of people congratulating you but we can’t be complacent, we have only won one Test match. We have still got three to go and, knowing them (Australia), they are going to come back hard. We’ll just have to go

that little bit harder.”

Pietersen out of Ashes

LONDON: England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the three remaining Ashes Tests against Australia after undergoing surgery for a chronic Achilles tendon injury.

Pietersen underwent the operation on Wednesday and will be sidelined for up to six weeks. Pietersen said: “As an England cricketer, the Ashes are the pinnacle of the game, so I’m

absolutely devastated to be missing the rest of this series.” England won the second

Test on Monday to lead 1-0 in the series. — AP