Flintoff out as England play it safe

Key all-rounder will not be risked in World Twenty20 tournament as Ashes loom

To general expectation, Andrew Flintoff withdrew from England's squad for the World Twenty20 yesterday. To general surprise, his replacement was named as Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire leg-spinning all-rounder.

Flintoff has failed to recover from the knee injury he sustained while playing in the Indian Premier League in South Africa last month. He needed surgery to repair a meniscus tear and it was decided after he visited the surgeon yesterday that he would not be at full fitness in time for the tournament which begins next week.

England received permission for a replacement from the tournament's technical committee, though their choice of Rashid is extremely bold. Not only does he become the fifth uncapped Twenty20 player out of 15 in the squad but he has also had such an uninspired start to the season that he was left out of Yorkshire's side for the opening two matches of the domestic Twenty20 competition.

Good enough for England but not for his county? Who is to say who's right? Rashid, however, did not look ready for international cricket on England's tour of the West Indies earlier this year. Yorkshire have begun to prefer their 24-year-old left-arm spinner, David Wainwright, simply because he is the better bowler at present.

The decision seems to be the more mysterious because the selectors might so easily have opted for Tim Bresnan, a seam bowling all-rounder who has played for England in their two Tests and two one-day internationals this season. A poor man's Flintoff he may be but it would have made more sense. Perhaps the selectors have a plan for Rashid which Yorkshire have overlooked.

England are accustomed to being without Flintoff and yesterday's decision was almost certainly a question of judgement. Important though it undoubtedly is, the conclusion will have been reached that it is wiser for him to miss the World Twenty20 than risk aggravating the injury before the Ashes.

"Andrew is making excellent progress and there is no swelling or pain now in the knee," said Nick Peirce, chief medical officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board. "He has been putting in some extremely hard training with Lancashire and should start running and practising this week. After discussions with his surgeon we have decided that he should continue the remainder of his rehabilitation with physio Dave Roberts, who has overseen his previous rehabilitations."

Flintoff has missed plenty of England matches including 25 of the 47 Tests they have played since the last home Ashes series, his finest hour, and 39 of their 87 one-day internationals and eight of their 14 Twenty20 internationals in that period. Perhaps surprisingly it is the first major limited overs competition he has missed.

He has played in three World Cups with limited success and one of the most pitiable sights in the inaugural World Twenty20 two years ago was that of Flintoff bowling on despite the obvious pain from his fragile ankle. It has been, as it were, one thing after another. The litany of injuries to a body, which has naturally been prone to object to the strain he exerts on it, has stretched anatomical experts. Until recently, his knees were one of the few areas which had seemed in good working order.

National Selector Geoff Miller said: "We had to name Andrew in the ICC World Twenty20 15 because we hoped he would be fit but in reality the timescale was always optimistic. There is a lot of cricket still to play this year and it is important Andrew is fully fit for it."

It is unquestionably a sensible call by those associated with England. The Ashes might not quite depend on it, but the team will seem a whole lot stronger for Flintoff's presence.

Whether England will be stronger for Rashid being there is open to greater question. English cricket has been besotted by the idea of having a leg spinner since Shane Warne began playing his tricks. Rashid, 21, seemed to fit the bill and when he took 62 Championship wickets last season the excitement was tangible. He can bat properly as well and the suspicion has long been that England wanted to put him on the fast track, which Miller hardly denied.

"It is an exciting opportunity for Adil Rashid, who was in the original 30 we named in early April," he said. "He has impressed the England management after being a part of the Test tour to India and the subsequent Caribbean tour and deserves his chance."

For Andy Flower, England's coach, it is another face to assimilate into the dressing room. So far this summer the fresh faces have done well – Bresnan was one of them.

"We have integrated some new players into our teams this season and it has worked seamlessly," said Flower. "We intend the same thing to happen with the Twenty20 cricketers coming into the squad." He has one more now.

Ashes watch

41 days to go:

"Having my partner in England is not a distraction," says Michael Clark in response to Michael Slater's fears over Aussie wives on tour. It looks like "Wag-gate" will run and run.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game