BBC prepares Flintoff for a rude awakening

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff's preparations for England's second one-day international against Pakistan on Monday are set to be interfered with by the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award. Flintoff is the favourite to scoop the award after his heroics during England's victorious Ashes campaign, but the winner will not be announced until 3am Pakistan time on Monday as there is a five-hour time difference.

Initially, the BBC wanted Flintoff to fly back to London to attend the show and, if he won, collect the award. But the England and Wales Cricket Board was understandably reluctant for their pivotal player to miss three key matches. It suggested the BBC change the night of the show, or allow Flintoff to pre-record an acceptance speech. Neither was acceptable to the BBC because voting continues while the show is on air, so as a compromise Flintoff will be woken up in the middle of the night when the result is known.

The sleep of the remaining members of the England team will also be meddled with as they are expected to win the Team of the Year award and the BBC wants to do a live link-up with them at the start of the show, which will begin at approximately 1am Pakistan time.

It is not the ideal way for England to prepare for what will be a tough match.