England delay Flintoff decision
England will leave any decision on Andrew Flintoff's fitness until the very last minute, as they weigh up the pros and cons of risking his injured left ankle during the first Test against West Indies, which gets underway at Lord's on Thursday. James Anderson has been called up to the squad as cover, although it is more likely that the extra batsman, Owais Shah, will be called upon.
Flintoff, whose ankle injury is a familiar problem, came through a net session without any undue concern to increase the likelihood of him taking part in the Test. However, Peter Moores, England's new coach, admitted that Flintoff was still feeling pain, adding that it was too soon to make a call on his participation.
"He's bowled today, two short spells. His ankle is still sore and we are going to have to wait and see," Moores told reporters at Lord's. "We would like to have know definitely today but we don't so we are going to have wait and see where we are in the morning."
Asked if he was concerned by the recurrence of Flintoff's ankle problem, Moores said: "You can't control injuries. I've coached for eight years at Sussex, you get injuries. "You've got to be fair to the player and you've got to be fair to the team. You've got to take both things into consideration. It [the ankle] seems to be getting better. But if he's not fit, he's not fit.
"Maybe the Test match might come a bit too soon, we don't really know at the moment," added Moores. "What we don't want to do is carry injured men into a game of cricket, and we don't want to give painkilling injections to mask things."
"We know he's had ankle problems before. We've got a good medical team and they are doing everything they can to check. We wouldn't play him if we thought it was going to get worse. If it's a wear and tear job then we've got to manage it as we go along. It would be daft of me to predict the future, we've got to plan it."
Andrew Strauss, England's stand-in captain, added: "Clearly I'd be very keen to see a fully fit Freddie Flintoff play. He could exploit the conditions as well as anyone, but we need to look not just at this Test but the rest of the summer as well."