Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Ends Long Wait for 100th Cap

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Ends Long Wait for 100th Cap

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Gibson

Andrew Flintoff's return to international cricket this weekend ends a six-month wait for his 100th England one-day cap.

Flintoff, 28, was expected to win it in India earlier this year but was rested for the final matches of the limited-overs series in Jamshedpur and Indore.

Then the recurrence of his left ankle injury left him sidelined for England's entire one-day programme this past summer, meaning he has yet to get his hands on the commemorative silver salver.

That will presented at the Sawai Mansingh stadium tomorrow as the ICC Champions Trophy ( which coach Duncan Fletcher remains upbeat about winning despite recent form ( finally kicks into gear against the host country.

This tournament is the first stop on England's biggest journey for many a winter but, rather than dismiss it as an inconvenience, Fletcher believes turning the optimism around the camp into wins would be a huge fillip for the Ashes and World Cup.

"We want to try to win this, we did very well last time, if we can do it again it will give us a bit of momentum going on.

"Everything to us is huge," Fletcher said. "We are proud guys; and if you are proud just playing for your country is a huge moment. The Ashes series is going to be big but if we win this it will be similar."

Flintoff was successful in his role up the order in the 144-run victory over a Rajasthan Cricket Association XI and is likely to remain in the top three, for the foreseeable future, as England seek the perfect start, and revenge for a 5-1 thrashing here in April.

"It was nice to see 'Fred', who hasn't played for some time get those runs," said Fletcher, of Flintoff's half-century. "It must have done him a world of good to come back and bat like that.

"We have to look at his position in the long term and short term and it is not an easy decision.

"There are possibilities it might change depending on how he feels as a bowler because we have to consider he is going to be a bowler as well."

India showed the value in sending aggressive players up the order last winter and England are keen to reap similar rewards during the power-play periods. …

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