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December 4, 2006
"He felt a slight discomfort and he just wanted to make sure everything was alright," Fletcher told reporters afterwards. "He came off and we just felt more comfortable with the other bowlers bowling. Basically he's making steady progress. He's played back-to-back Tests and he's done quite a bit of bowling in that time, but we've got no worries at the moment."
Flintoff's fitness is absolutely pivotal to England's Ashes chances, but Fletcher insisted that the problem was simply a side-effect of his long injury lay-off. He underwent further surgery on his troublesome left ankle in June, and returned to action in India in September for the ICC Champions Trophy. Unless a surprise is in store tomorrow, he will not have to bowl again competitively until the third Test starts at Perth on Thursday week.
"It's a light discomfort, but the medical staff are confident at the moment and say it's just from having been off and coming back from injury. We are just going to have to wait and see what he's like after couple of days, but we're not even going to send him for a scan at this stage. He just feels he's been overbowled in back-to-back Tests."
An injury to Flintoff would be considerably more damaging to England than any concerns that Glenn McGrath's ankle has been causing to Australia, but Fletcher insisted that Flintoff would have been fit to bowl had he been required today. "We discussed it and he could have taken the new ball. In fact, it would have been him and Steve Harmison."
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge