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.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone