Fletcher finds relief as Flintoff prepares return to competition

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff remains on target to make his comeback from injury in the totesport League match at Lord's tomorrow after Lancashire confirmed the England all-rounder's place, only as a specialist batsman, in their 12 to face Middlesex.

Flintoff has played no competitive cricket since he underwent surgery on a persistent ankle injury after the winter Test series victory over the South Africans.

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, will be relieved after yesterday revealing his concerns over developing all-rounders and spinners to break into the Test team. "There is a lot of talent around England at the moment, although the areas of concern are in the all-rounder role [as back-up to Flintoff] and the spinning role in support of Ashley Giles," he said.

"But outside of that there are a lot of talented players around like [Alastair] Cook and Will Jefferson at Essex and Ian Bell, who is showing a lot of talent at a young age, as well as those from other counties, and I think it is nice to see that we have some depth in the batting and the seam bowling to a lesser degree."