England news December 23, 2009

Flintoff set for the nets

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff expects to resume batting in the New Year as he continues his recovery from surgery.

Flintoff is recuperating following knee surgery and revealed on his website he will return to the nets next month, although he does not expect to be bowling for some time yet as he is following a programme devised by surgeon Andy Williams.

He retired from Test cricket in the summer and will now just concentrate on the shorter form of the game whenever he recovers.

In training regime that includes plenty of time in the swimming pool, Flintoff has now also started cycling. "I'm just really looking forward to starting cricket exercises again, which I hope to start early in the New Year," Flintoff said on his website. "As long as I don't have any setbacks, I should be able to start batting against a bowling machine.

"I won't be doing anything daft and I will have to ease into it again, but it will be good just to start playing some form of cricket again after all this time and it will be great to start hitting balls again. When all you do is go to the gym every day, you can almost forget that you're a cricketer."

Yet it is the strain from bowling that has brought Flintoff's injuries in the past and he is realistic about his prospects for returning with the ball. "While it's good to be able to pick up a bat again, I'm still some way away from bowling again just yet. I've been given a programme by the surgeon and I will be sticking to that. I can't see me being given the go-ahead to start bowling for a good few weeks yet."

Flintoff is set to return for a check-up in February when he is hoping to get involved with training sessions at Lancashire.