New Zealand in England 2008 June 9, 2008

Vaughan wants Flintoff back

Cricinfo staff

Despite success against New Zealand, Michael Vaughan hopes Andrew Flintoff can return soon © Getty Images
Although Michael Vaughan's three quick bowlers secured an innings victory against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, he is eager to have Andrew Flintoff at his disposal for the greater challenge of South Africa.

Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson and Stuart Broad took all 20 New Zealand wickets between then in the third Test - with Anderson claiming career-best innings and match figures - but bowling out South Africa will be a much tougher job.

The decision that Vaughan and the selectors will have to come to before the Test squad meets up again in July is the balance of the team. England have won four of their last five Tests with a four-man attack and it will be very difficult to drop any of the quicks. That raises the option of Flintoff returning at the expense of a batsman, with Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood both needing runs in the forthcoming one-dayers.

"I hope he [Flintoff] will get his side right in the next few weeks, get enough cricket and be confident in himself and in his form that he can take on South Africa," Vaughan said. "You would love five [bowlers]. But I am also happy with four. The balance of the team is very important when you play a good team like South Africa."

However, Flintoff is still not ready to return to action for Lancashire after the side strain which ruled him of the New Zealand series. With the Twenty20 beginning on Wednesday he will have just one first-class match, against Sussex starting on June 29, to really test out his body ahead of the South Africa series that starts on July 10.

"It will probably be Freddie who will have to make the call," Vaughan added. "If he is confident enough in his own form and his body whether he plays against South Africa. Everyone knows that, if he is fit, I would love to have him in the team."