Fletcher finds relief as Flintoff prepares return to competition

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."

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