Flintoff bides his time

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Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff insists he will not be rushed back into action © Getty Images

Andrew Flintoff insists he is taking no chances as he continues his recovery from injury.

The England all-rounder has been out of action for almost three weeks with a side strain, sustained as he attempted to prove his fitness with Lancashire for the opening npower Test against New Zealand.

Flintoff appeared to have overcome his long-standing ankle problems during the early part of the season on county duty, but his latest problem further delayed his return to England colours.

He is adamant, however, that after so many curtailed comebacks he will not rush returning to action despite the impending one-day series against New Zealand and the Test series with South Africa that follows.

“I’d love to be involved against South Africa, but I think I learned my lesson from last time, building up and trying to play against New Zealand and it didn’t happen,” Flintoff said.

“I’m going to see how it goes. I’m not going to build it up too much because I don’t want to get disappointed again.”

The England one-day squad will be announced on Friday, with the first of the limited-overs contests - a Twenty20 international at Old Trafford - due to take place on June 13.

But Flintoff, speaking at the launch of Lancashire’s Twenty20 campaign at the Chill Factor in Manchester, claims he does not know when he will be fit to return.

“I’ve not got a fixed date yet on when I can play and I think I’ll know more once I start doing more running and then get back into the cricket again,” he said.

“These things have a history of taking six weeks and it will be three weeks on Thursday since I did it.

“I don’t know the exact dates of the one-day series but I’ve still got a few weeks before I’m fit so I’m not sure what the chances are of me being fit for that.

“I saw (national selector) Geoff Miller and (coach) Peter Moores last week and they’re not going to rush me back.”

If Flintoff’s recovery takes six weeks, his next available competitive cricket would be the final few matches of Lancashire’s Twenty20 Cup qualifying group.

He would also be able to feature in the championship match against Sussex at Hove before the opening Test against South Africa at Lord’s starting on July 11, which may be his first Test appearance for 18 months.