England news September 3, 2009

Flower fears for Flintoff but hopeful over Pietersen

Cricinfo staff

Andy Flower, the England team director, has cast doubts over whether Andrew Flintoff will ever again play international cricket, but expressed hope that Kevin Pietersen will be available for England's forthcoming tour of South Africa. Speaking after his latest round of knee surgery last week, Flintoff admitted he was uncertain as to whether he would fulfil his ambition of representing England in the 50- and 20-over arenas. Flower harbours similar concerns.

"I don't know," Flower told Sky Sports, when asked whether Flintoff would make an England return. "I really hope he does. If he can come back and play one-day international and Twenty20 cricket for us and bat at six or seven and bowl like he can bowl, that will make us a force to be reckoned with in one-day cricket. Whether he will or not I don't know, I just hope he does."

Flower was more optimistic about Pietersen's comeback from injury. Pietersen underwent surgery to alleviate pain caused by a degenerative Achilles injury after the Lord's Test, and was readmitted to hospital after the area around the stitching became infected. He will miss England's one-day series against Australia and the ensuing Champions Trophy, however Flower is hopeful he will return for the eagerly anticipated tour of South Africa later in the year.

"He is still struggling a little with that wound in his Achilles," Flower said. "I spoke to him yesterday but I think we are confident in saying he will be back for South Africa

"Sometimes you never know what is good or bad luck. Kevin and I spoke about ... using this as an opportunity to get some time away from the game. It is enforced time away and he didn't want it and we didn't want it, but since it's there and there is nothing anyone can do about it, I think he has got to make the most of it. I think that is what he is doing. He is spending time with his family and his wife and getting a break from the international game."