Flintoff sent for home help

Talismanic all-rounder remains committed to IPL riches despite injury

Andrew Flintoff flew home from the West Indies last night and will miss the final Test match in Trinidad. He hopes to return to play in the one-day series but that is far from certain.

The all-rounder will have intensive treatment on a tear in a muscle around his right hip in the next 12 days, working closely with Dave Roberts, a man who knows Flintoff's injury ravaged body intimately and has remade it as fit for purpose many times in the last few years.

"I think it's the best thing for me at the moment and I'm more confident than I was a week ago that I can get fit and come back," said Flintoff. "It's desperately frustrating because it's one thing after another. After the second innings in Antigua last week, for the first time in a long time I came in and threw my bat against a wall."

It is the sixth time in the last 10 years that Flintoff has been forced to leave an England tour with various injuries, previously to his back and ankle. Despite his fragile body and the impending Ashes series this summer, he still refuses to withdraw from the Indian Premier League, where he stands to earn around £500,000 from Chennai Super Kings for three weeks.

He said: "It seems at the minute everyone's going about the IPL and it's a hot topic, but my goal is to play in this one-day series for England. The IPL is still a few weeks away and it will take care of itself. It's something I want to go on, but playing for England is the ultimate and that's what I want to do."

While the money on offer in the Indian Twenty20 tournament is obviously the main attraction, there would be hell to pay if his body let him down again there. But he reaffirmed his desire and intention to be ready for the Ashes.

"Everyone is going on about the Ashes, there's a lot of cricket before then," he said. "The Ashes are at the back end of summer. I want to be in the Ashes, don't get me wrong. I desperately want to play against Australia again and I'm not going to jeopardise that by doing anything I don't think I can do."

It is becoming increasingly evident by the day that playing for England and playing in the IPL will be an uncomfortable combination. The ECB is contacting all the IPL franchises with English players hoping to put in place the kind of network they have with English counties on players' fitness. Players, to a man, insist that their first loyalty is to England but in the case of Flintoff the riches on offer on India are mind-boggling.

He was signed for $1.55m (£1.05m) in the franchise auction three weeks ago and although he is available for only part of the tournament he will still receive by far the biggest pay packet of his career. Hugh Morris, the England managing director, recognised that controversy lies round the IPL corner and tried, as his wont, to head it off at the pass. "We will be having a lot of conversations over the next few weeks but we have excellent support services in place," he said.

"The critical thing we want to do is support Fred over the next 12 days or so. We feel that going home will benefit him. It's happened before and has worked really well before. If he's fit and ready for the one-day series we haven't got a problem."

Flintoff, who first had to leave for home as long ago as the Pakistan tour in 1999, has been resting in Bridgetown this past week in the forlorn hope that his hip might recover. His family have been with him and there might have been some logistical considerations in the decision to keep him with the squad.

"I know what I need to do to get fit," said Flintoff. "It makes it harder being around Test matches, you desperately want to play, all the other players are around and you're a little bit flat because of it. You don't know where to put yourself. Everyone is asking you about your injury all the time. I just want to get home and do my work."

Flintoff felt the latest injury in Jamaica and dimissed it as simple tightness. It gradually became worse during the Test match in Antigua and Flintoff, warrior that he is, insisted on bowling through the pain as England tried in vain to eke out the win that would have brought them level in the series.

No doubt, he will try extremely hard to return to the Caribbean because he has missed so much cricket for England. But more rest may yet be advisable if the Ashes are to be anything but a dream.

Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen