Flintoff takes the plaudits
Mohammad Yousuf heaped praise on Lancashire team-mate Andrew Flintoff after witnessing his superb bowling display against Durham.
The all-rounder claimed 2-13 from five overs, which helped restrict holders Durham to 151 for seven in a Friends Provident Trophy match reduced to 23 overs a side at Old Trafford.
His contribution was crucial as Lancashire sealed a dramatic five-wicket win with Steven Croft hitting a six off the last ball to seal the triumph.
Flintoff's display was enough to convince Pakistan batsman Yousuf, who made 32 on his Lancashire debut having arrived in England on Friday, that the 30-year-old is ready for the demands of Test cricket again.
Flintoff is hoping to feature in the first npower Test against New Zealand at Lord's, which starts on May 15, and Yousuf believes he is playing well enough to warrant a place.
"He was the first to call me when I arrived and that gave me a great boost of confidence," admitted Yousuf.
"He has always been a great all-rounder and the way he bowled shows that he's still the best. I was very impressed with the way he bowled.”
Durham and England all-rounder Paul Collingwood was also impressed with Flintoff's display, saying: "He's a star performer - he's absolutely world class.
"He looks fit, which is good, and he's obviously running in and hitting the pitch hard like he normally does and he looks in good touch with the bat.
“He's moving freely, which is good news for all concerned, for Lancashire and, in the long run, England."
Collingwood added: "His selection for England will obviously come down to his fitness. We've said all along that we don't want to rush him back and that's entirely up to Andrew himself - how good he feels and whether he's got enough overs under his belt. But he looks really good.
"We don't want to rush him back because he's been through a hell of a lot with injuries and we don't want to go through all that again.
"Five-day games are long and you have to bowl a lot of overs in that time. So far this season he's bowled 60-odd overs, so the question is whether that is enough overs."