Lancashire seal Flintoff deal

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The Independent Online

Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes is confident Andrew Flintoff will be fit to fulfil his new contract.

The 31-year-old England all-rounder, who retired from Tests at the end of the Ashes series to focus on the 50-over game, has signed a three-year deal to play one-day cricket for the county.

Flintoff is currently recuperating after undergoing surgery to his right knee in late August, but Combes revealed Lancashire's medical staff are optimistic over his recovery.

"At the moment, yes (they are)," he told Sky Sports News.

"There's still some way to go, it's going to be in to the new year I think before we have anything definite, but everything's signed on the basis he's going to be fit come the start of next season."

Cumbes added: "He's clearly retired from Test match five-day cricket so we couldn't expect him to be playing four day.

"Although he has said if he feels as though he's up to it and he feels he needs a four-day game for whatever reason then he'll let us know and we'll play it from there. But essentially it's one-day cricket.

"It's great for the dressing room because he's the sort of lad that catalyses the dressing room. He's a larger-than-life figure, he's a talisman."

Flintoff, who made his debut for the Red Rose in 1995, marked his retirement from Test cricket in style as England beat Australia at The Oval to regain the Ashes.

But an arthroscopy and microfracture surgery ruled him out of the subsequent NatWest Twenty20 international series and NatWest Series against Australia and the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.

And in September Flintoff rejected the England and Wales Cricket Board's offer of an incremental contract.

Flintoff told Lancashire's official website,, said: "I am delighted at being able to agree a new contract which enables me to remain at Old Trafford for the next three years. I have felt part of Lancashire ever since I first played here as a schoolboy and I want to help them achieve success.

"I have enjoyed many highs with England over the years, but I have not had the same success with Lancashire and that is something I want to address.

"I have a good relationship with Peter Moores and Glen Chapple and hopefully I can be of help to them both on the pitch and in the dressing room.

"I am looking forward to being around the Lancashire dressing room more now I have retired from Test cricket and this contract will also give me the flexibility to play other forms of one-day cricket around the world, which will hopefully help me develop as a player and in turn, help Lancashire and England."

Lancashire's cricket director Mike Watkinson was delighted the all-rounder had committed his future to the county.

He said: "Fred is Lancashire through and through and he is a great inspiration to our young players.

"It is a huge boost for the club that he will be wearing our shirt on a regular basis in 2010 and beyond."

Head coach Peter Moores added: "Fred is a proven match-winner, and the type of player that lifts a dressing room with his sheer enthusiasm and will to win.

"It's great that he is going to be with us, and I'm sure our supporters will be just as thrilled with the news."