England's failure gives Flintoff chance for Twenty20 debut

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick and Stephen Harmison are poised to make their Twenty20 Cup debuts next week, after the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, gave them permission yesterday to play domestic cricket.

Andrew Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick and Stephen Harmison are poised to make their Twenty20 Cup debuts next week, after the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, gave them permission yesterday to play domestic cricket.

Fletcher will allow several contracted players a run-out in domestic cricket in the build-up to the opening Test against West Indies following England's early exit from the NatWest Series.

His decision has given the Lancashire all-rounder Flintoff, who became the first England player in four years to score successive centuries in one-day internationals this week, a chance to play in the big Roses Twenty20 match against Yorkshire at Headingley on 14 July.

The Durham fast bowler Harmison has also been made available for his county's Twenty20 match with Yorkshire the following night, as well as the National League match with Middlesex three days later. Trescothick will now be able to feature in Somerset's Twenty20 match with Northamptonshire, also on 15 July.

Their involvement is sure to increase interest in the tournament and will provide useful practice for the England players ahead of the first Twenty20 international between England and Australia at Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground next summer.

While that trio have been released for duty, however, the deteriorating form of the England captain, Michael Vaughan, has prompted Fletcher to make his captain available only for Yorkshire's C&G Trophy semi-final against Gloucestershire on 17 July to ensure he is fresh for the opening Test five days later.

Other contracted players made available include James Anderson, who is free to play in Lancashire's National League match against Hampshire on 11 July and the Twenty20 matches alongside Flintoff against Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Warwickshire spinner Ashley Giles is available for the Twenty20 matches against Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire on 12 and 15 July, and the C&G Trophy semi-final with Worcestershire two days later.

Glamorgan, unbeaten in their first two Twenty20 matches, face Warwickshire at Sophia Gardens today, with their coach, John Derrick, attributing their good start to losing the "fear factor".

"Our preparation hasn't been that much different to last year in terms of practising," he said. "It's been more a case of talking about things a little bit differently. I just wanted to take the fear factor out of it for the players, especially the bowlers. Last year they were worrying about it a bit, but this year they haven't. You could bowl a perfectly good ball and still get hit for six because it's a batsman's game. If you get hit, you get hit - there's not much you can do about it - they're playing with less fear now."

Comments