Flintoff firing on full cylinders

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Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff last played a Test in the 2006/7 Ashes in Australia

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is back to full fitness and ready to return to the international arena, according to county captain Stuart Law.

Flintoff has impressed with the ball for Lancashire since the start of the domestic season following a fourth operation on his troublesome left ankle during the winter.

He last played in an England shirt during the ICC World Twenty20 in September and is in contention for the first npower Test against New Zealand at Lord’s next week.

The 30-year-old recorded match figures of 7-42 as Durham suffered a 232-run defeat at Old Trafford on Friday to take his tally to 10 LV County Championship wickets at a cost of less than 17 runs each this season.

“There’s no question about his fitness,” Law said of a cricketer he believes does not receive the recognition he deserves for the amount of work he puts into his physical well-being.

“He does more fitness work than anyone.

“Everyone highlights the fact that he likes a good time. He’s a young man; he’s allowed a good time.

“But he works hard. He’s been training on a Saturday night at nine o’clock down the gym – up again to do the same at six o’clock on a Sunday morning.”

Flintoff has become a near national obsession ever since his heroics in England’s win in the 2005 Ashes – but Law confirms the microscopic attention never threatens to put him off.

“If he reads the paper he’ll do it to have a laugh, take the mickey out of himself if there’s a derogatory comment,” he said.

“To have him round the dressing room is brilliant, an absolute pleasure. He’d die for this county.”

Law has no doubt England must pick Flintoff – and he is equally sure county colleague James Anderson will rise to the challenge if given the chance to retain his place.

“Jimmy was swinging it both ways in humid conditions that suited him,” he said of Anderson’s spell of 5-25 as depleted Durham were bowled out for 90 to hand Lancashire a three-day win.

“That is his forte, and he bowled beautifully,” Law added.

“I’ve captained Jimmy a few times, and it’s very hard to get the ball out of his hands.

“The more he bowls, the better he gets. He’s confident in his action and his ability.

“His body’s fine, and he just gets better and better.”

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