Australian Twenty20 side 'target' Flintoff

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff has emerged as a potential target for Australian outfit the Victorian Bushrangers for the upcoming Twenty20 Big Bash should Muttiah Muralitharan miss the competition through international commitments.

Sri Lanka spinner Muralitharan, the all-time leading wicket-taker in Test and one-day international cricket, was recently announced as Victoria's marquee signing for the competition, which runs from December 28 to late January 2010.



But the possibility Sri Lanka could contest a tri-series with India and Bangladesh early in the new year has cast doubt over the 37-year-old's availability.



Coach Greg Shipperd denied today the Bushrangers had been caught out by the potential clash of schedules.



"We were aware, you do have a futures tour programme and it (the sub-continental tri-series) was there," said Shipperd.



"But with the flexibility of tours being pulled out and put back in, I think we took an educated risk to name him now and if it comes off then we've certainly lost nothing.



"If he's unavailable then certainly we'll go looking for an adequate replacement and there'll be lots out there."



Asked whether England all-rounder Flintoff, who retired from Test cricket after the Ashes series to concentrate on the shorter forms of the game, would be a potential target, Shipperd said: "Every player that's playing at the moment that's fit and available would be a possibility for us.



"Murali's obviously our first choice but Flintoff as well would be welcome in any team across the world.



"Victoria is well-known for its strategy and we have lots of plans behind the scenes."



In June the Bushrangers announced they had secured West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo as the first of their two overseas signings for the Twenty20 Big Bash.



Should the arrangement with Murali fall through, Victoria have until December 24 to recruit a second overseas player.



Two other Sri Lankans have been signed up to compete in the Big Bash, Lasith Malinga for Tasmania and Ajantha Mendis for South Australia.



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