Flintoff to miss entire one-day tournament with injured foot

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff looks set to miss this summer's NatWest series after being told by a specialist to rest his injured left foot for two weeks.

Andrew Flintoff looks set to miss this summer's NatWest series after being told by a specialist to rest his injured left foot for two weeks.

The Lancashire all-rounder picked up the injury during England's victory in the third Test against New Zealand but was hopeful of playing in the 10-match tournament, but the bone spur continues to give him pain while bowling and it is this which has caused England to call up Rikki Clarke for their one-day squad in Manchester.

"It's a big blow," said Michael Vaughan, the England captain. "In the last year he [Flintoff]has proven to be a fantastic player for the team with bat, ball and in the field. He is a huge loss, but every loss is an opportunity for someone."

Clarke has had less success than many of the world's leading cricketers when he has attempted to compete with Flintoff. But after 53 weeks of living in the big man's shadow the Surrey all-rounder looks set to be given the opportunity he has craved for.

Clarke can be thankful that continuity rather than change is the current aim of England's selectors, because the 22-year-old has been in poor form since returning from the West Indies, scoring just 64 runs in one-day cricket and haemorrhaging 91 runs in just 11 overs.

Marcus Trescothick's sprained left ankle means that Michael Powell has also been invited as cover for tomorrow evening. The absence of Trescothick is likely to give Robert Key another chance to flog the Kiwis, against whom he scored a century in each innings for Kent earlier in the season.

Stephen Fleming, the New Zealand captain, is hopeful that Daniel Vettori will be fit for the encounter. The left-arm spinner played for the MCC yesterday in an out match against King's School in Macclesfield and should be available for selection.

"To label us as tournament favourites is undeserving when you consider our form here during the Test series," Fleming said. "But our record in one-day cricket, winning nine of our last 11 matches, suggests that our one-day game is in better shape. If we win this tournament, we can go home with our heads a little bit higher."

If they fail, it won't be through lack of preparation. New Zealand, overseen by coach, John Bracewell, spent an hour yesterday working out fielding positions at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately, Brian Lara failed to make the series launch after traffic delayed the West Indian captain and he missed his flight.

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