Flintoff in shock Lancashire return

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The Independent Online

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has been selected for a surprise first-class comeback in Lancashire's LV County Championship match at Durham.

Hopes were raised that the 31-year-old could play a part, six weeks after he suffered a knee injury in the Indian Premier League, when Red Rose coach Peter Moores picked him in the squad to travel to Chester-le-Street.

However, Flintoff was widely expected to be held back for next week's match against Hampshire at Liverpool.

Flintoff underwent knee surgery upon his return from the tournament in South Africa, but hopes that he might be able to play in the current World Twenty20 proved premature.

That raised fears that he might struggle to play a full part in the Ashes series which begins in Cardiff next month - although the Lancastrian insisted that was "not an option" yesterday.

Flintoff's spirits - and those of England fans everywhere - were raised over the last week when he was able to bowl and bat outdoors in public for the first time during breaks in play in his county's match against Somerset at Old Trafford.

That prompted Moores to admit: "He has progressed really well. It's all gone very well and probably better than some people expected in many ways.

"When he walks out onto that field it's because everybody thinks it's the right time.

"For Freddie's sake he wants to come in fully fit, ready to play so he can go in there feeling protected enough to give it a real go."

"It's great to have him fit, so obviously he plays in our team. He's looking forward to playing for Lancashire," county captain Glen Chapple told Sky Sports.

"He had a couple of injuries last year as well so he's really keen to go out and play cricket.

"If he's fit, he gets in our best team - so he's playing."