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.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence