Flintoff eyes net gains

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Andrew Flintoff & Merlyn

Andrew Flintoff is relishing the prospect of "hitting balls again" after an enforced four-month lay-off due to knee surgery

England and Lancashire all-rounder Andrew Flintoff expects to resume batting in the new year as he steps up his recovery from knee surgery.

The 32-year-old underwent an operation in the immediate aftermath of the Ashes in August, having announced his retirement from Test cricket due to persistent injury problems.

He suffered a setback when he sustained deep vein thrombosis in his right calf the following month, and has since been recovering in Dubai.

Flintoff revealed he will return to the nets next month, although he does not expect to be bowling for some time yet as he follows a programme devised by surgeon Andy Williams.

In a blog on his official website, Flintoff said: "I'm just really looking forward to starting cricket exercises again, which I hope to start early in the new year.

"As long as I don't have any setbacks, I should be able to start batting against a bowling machine.

"I won't be doing anything daft and I will have to ease into it again, but it will be good just to start playing some form of cricket again after all this time and it will be great to start hitting balls again.

"When all you do is go to the gym every day, you can almost forget that you're a cricketer."

Flintoff added: "While it's good to be able to pick up a bat again, I'm still some way away from bowling again just yet.

"I've been given a programme by the surgeon, Andy Williams, and I will be sticking to that. I can't see me being given the go-ahead to start bowling for a good few weeks yet."

Flintoff also revealed he expects to be involved with Lancashire’s pre-season training in February.

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