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Flintoff return still on hold

Andrew Flintoff’s possible return to competitive cricket after a five-year absence was washed out at Edgbaston.

The all-rounder, who made his last competitive appearance for England against Australia in the 2009 Ashes decider at The Oval, was included in Lancashire’s squad for their NatWest T20 Blast North Division match against Birmingham Bears.

But the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled after rain began 90 minutes before the scheduled start and did not relent. Umpires Jeremy Lloyds and George Sharp called off play after an 8pm inspection.

“I reckon I might get one before my 40th,” Flintoff wrote on Twitter, in response to team-mate Kyle Hogg tweeting: “will have to wait again for a game.”

Flintoff, 36, came out of retirement in May when he played for Northern League club St Annes and then secured a short-term Twenty20 contract with Lancashire, having trained with the county in the early weeks of the season.

He made his Lancashire comeback last month in their Second XI Twenty20 semi-final defeat by Leicestershire at Arundel and made a further second-team appearance in a 50-over match against Nottinghamshire at Worksop College last week.

Flintoff was named in Lancashire’s squad for their NatWest T20 Blast match against Northamptonshire two weeks ago, but only as cover in case of injury.

This was the first time he had been included in the squad with a realistic chance of playing but the abandonment came before the teams were confirmed.

After winning his 100th Test cap Ian Bell was awarded an honorary life membership by Warwickshire as the rain fell at Edgbaston

Flintoff is expected to remain in Lancashire’s squad for their next match in the competition, against Worcestershire Rapids at New Road on Sunday.

The abandonment was the Bears’ second complete washout in the competition in four matches at Edgbaston this season and left them with little margin for error in the four remaining matches.

Lancashire captain Glen Chapple said Flintoff had been in with a shout of featuring.

He said: "With the weather we didn't really get to know what the game was going to entail, but he had a strong chance of playing tonight.

"He has been in decent form for a while and as a team we have been in good form. The players have been doing their jobs really well and it maybe comes down to a tactical change on certain pitches rather than leaving a player out.

"There is not going to be any chances taken with our team selection no matter who we play."

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