Selector Miller defends Flintoff omission
Monday 10 August 2009
Chairman of selectors Geoff Miller has defended the decision to omit Andrew Flintoff from the England side for the fourth Ashes Test, insisting it was right to put the advice of the medical team over the all-rounder's wishes.
Flintoff's agent claims the 31-year-old informed England's selectors he was prepared to play through the pain barrier at Headingley but the offer was turned down.
The Lancashire star has an ongoing knee problem and failed to convince the medical team of his ability to make it through the penultimate Test unscathed during net sessions last week.
He will see a specialist today ahead of a decision on his fitness for next week's fifth Test, and Miller believes it was right to leave him out of the Headingley encounter which England lost by an innings and 80 runs.
"We had to guarantee that Fred could do the job required to bowl the overs," Miller told Radio Five Live.
"We'd been monitoring his injury day by day and the selectors felt that it was better that he didn't play in that game.
"Yes, he might have thought he was fit to do a certain job but we had to work out whether he'd be fit to do a constant job, meaning bowl the amount of overs required to get the 20 wickets.
"We have to go on the medical advice. We know that Freddie's passionate to play for England, I accept that, but there are a lot of other ideals we have to work to, such as taking medical advice.
"If the medics say there's still a problem there, then we have to accept what their viewpoint is."
Andrew Chandler, Flintoff's agent, claimed that he had "never seen anybody as low" as the all-rounder was after being told he would not be selected.
Flintoff was conspicuous by his absence from the England balcony for the duration of the Headingley Test, but Miller revealed relations remain good with his talismanic star.
"Everything is fine with Fred. No problems whatsoever," he said.
"He knows the situation, he knows there's a problem there and we will monitor that day by day.
"The England side, when Freddie's performing to his maximum as we saw at Lord's, is a terrific side, and it disappoints him when he's not playing."
Chandler told the Times: "I've never seen anybody as low as Flintoff was on Thursday night when he was told he would not be selected.
"He told them that he was fit enough to get through, that he felt no different to how he felt at Edgbaston and that he could get through and do his bit. They didn't want him.
"He was prepared to do whatever it takes, was prepared to put whatever needed to be put into his knee.
"The whole point of announcing his retirement when he did was to clear his head and prepare to do whatever needed to be done to play the final Test matches of his career.
"He just didn't see it coming. He wanted to play and they didn't want him, and he didn't see that coming at all."
Chandler believes the net sessions ahead of the fourth Test did not give an accurate reading of how Flintoff's injury would have reacted in a competitive environment.
"What they didn't take into account during Thursday's practice was that there was no adrenalin," he said.
"That was why he looked as though he was struggling so much and why he became so much worse on the final day at Edgbaston, when it was clear the game could not be won.
"He was hurting at Lord's but the adrenalin got him through. It would have got him through this week as well.
"His presence would certainly have lifted the crowd and the team, because without him they don't have much inspiration."
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