Flintoff devastated by Old Trafford's loss of 2009 Ashes Test

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff said he is "gutted" that Old Trafford, his home county ground, has been axed from the list of Test match venues for the 2009 Ashes series.

The Manchester venue has been replaced by Cardiff's Sophia Gardens and Flintoff said: "I was gutted when I found out Old Trafford hadn't got an Ashes Test - a venue which in the last series had full houses for five days, 20,000 people being locked out for one of the best Test matches ever seen. It's very, very disappointing."

The Lancashire and England all-rounder played in front of a capacity crowd in last summer's epic drawn third Test against Australia, and he said: "It went down to the wire and the venue was fantastic."

Flintoff described the atmosphere as "amazing" and added: "I've never seen Old Trafford like that. I've played in front of biggish crowds there but to play in front of a full house for five days and then to see people being locked out was amazing. You usually lock 'em in at our place."

Elsewhere, Brian Lara has been re-appointed captain of West Indies for their one-day international series against Zimbabwe starting on Saturday. The batsman replaces Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who resigned a fortnight ago following a disappointing 13 months in the role.