Harmison must be in test team, says Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff believes England must select Durham pace bowler Steve Harmison for the winter's Test series in South Africa.



Harmison has told the England selectors, who have delayed finalising their Test squad, to pick him or he will retire from internationals.

But Flintoff, who has retired from Test cricket, has no doubts that his great friend should be on the plane.

"Of course he should," said Flintoff. "We had the biggest game of the summer in the Ashes at The Oval and he (Harmison) was playing.

"I'd have him in my side. Well I did do, didn't I? I'd have him in every day."

Flintoff, who turned down a £25,000 incremental contract from the ECB but insists he will put nothing before playing for England in one-day cricket, has another eight weeks of rehabilitation on crutches after the operation he underwent on his damaged right knee following the Ashes series.

But he has been buoyed by the success of the England side in South Africa, who have put aside their miserable one-day series against Australia to beat Sri Lanka and South Africa in the Champions Trophy.

Flintoff said: "We have seen with England in the past that when we have underperformed we are very good at coming back.

"With the one-day stuff we have struggled with consistency. We can beat anyone. We've won series but not strung a run of series together. Whatever it takes to be consistent we have just not found it. Hopefully the Champions Trophy is the start of that."

Flintoff, who returned from his recuperation base in Dubai to launch his book 'Ashes to Ashes' (Hodder&Stoughton), also believes England could have found a new one-day star in left-hander Eoin Morgan, who hit five sixes in an impressive 67 against South Africa.

Flintoff said: "Look at left-handers who play one-day cricket and finish games. England had Graham Thorpe and Neil Fairbrother. The Aussies had Michael Bevan and Mike Hussey. If Morgan could fill that void for England it would be a great asset.

"He's started well, hit a few sixes. He plays left-handed but plays the odd right-handed shot and flicks them over the wicketkeeper. He's an exciting prospect."

Flintoff intends to do TV work in the future but rules out appearing in the jungle in 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'.

Nor does he believe that his future role as a 'freelance' cricketer will become the fashion.

He said: "We have a history of overseas players and players going to play in other countries.

"This freelance thing has been taken out of context. I'm contracted to Lancashire. I don't think it's going to start a trend."

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