Flintoff 'happy to be out there'

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff was "happy to be out there again" after making his comeback from injury for England Lions in India yesterday, according to their coach, David Parsons.

The all-rounder, who had not played any competitive cricket since the World Twenty20 last September, made little impression in yesterday's win over a Mumbai XI. He scored only four runs before being caught and did not bowl as the Lions won by three wickets with a ball to spare, but he took a catch at second slip and suffered no ill effects from 50 overs in the field.

It was Flintoff's first action since a fourth ankle operation in October, and his mere presence on the pitch was more important than his contribution to the result, according to Parsons.

"It was good to see Fred back playing again," Parsons said. "It was unfortunate that when he went in we had a run chase on, and he didn't get many runs. But judging by the look on his face when he went out to bat, he was just happy to be out there again, and he came through without any problems."

Parsons said Flintoff was never likely to risk aggravating his ankle problem by bowling. "He has trained really hard in the few days he has been out here with us, and worked hard in the nets," added Parsons.

"But there was never any intention of him bowling in this game – that has always been the case."