Flintoff reveals ankle injections
Andrew Flintoff has revealed how he has been given injections in his left ankle to cure the discomfort which has plagued him through the Ashes series.
The effectiveness of the England captain as an all-rounder has been affected during the opening three Tests because of the pain he experiences while bowling.
He is yet to bowl a spell of longer than five overs in the series, which intensifies the growing concern about Flintoff’s ability to remain as a front-line bowler.
But Flintoff insisted that the injection, which also helps reduce the inflammation around his ankle, was only precautionary and admitted it was a problem he would probably have to live with for the remainder of his career.
“It’s no secret I’ve had some discomfort in it over the past week or so and the injection is just precautionary - I’m not envisaging any long-term problems or worrying about these next two Test matches,” said Flintoff.
The Lancashire all-rounder missed the second half of the domestic season after undergoing further surgery on the ankle.
He added: “My ankle is an area where I have got some discomfort, but if you speak to a lot of bowlers they will tell you they’ve got areas of their body which aren’t 100 per cent.
“My area is my ankle and it’s something I’m going to have live with.”
Flintoff bowled only 28 overs during the third Test in Perth, where victory for Australia sealed another Ashes series victory for the hosts.
In comparison, fellow paceman Steve Harmison sent down 43 overs, while Flintoff struggled for rhythm and consistency.
But Flintoff claimed he kept himself out of the attack only because he was unhappy with the way he was bowling rather than as a result of his fitness.
He stressed: “In the last Test match the number of overs I bowled was more of a reflection of how I bowled as opposed to my fitness.
“Both Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard were fantastic and from my point of view I didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked to, which kept my number of overs down.”
The ankle problems he has suffered have only intensified Flintoff’s disappointment during the series, having also scored only one half-century with the bat.
He now faces another intense examination of his ankle, with back-to-back Tests in Melbourne and Sydney followed by just a few days off before the start of the one-day series.
Flintoff is determined not to rest during the one-day series and would prefer to play in every game, despite England facing a gruelling schedule of a Twenty20 international and eight one-day internationals in the space of 29 days in nine different venues - even if they fail to make the triangular tournament final.
“I want to play as much as I can,” added Flintoff. “There are quite a few games in the one-day series but I’m going to go into it as a fit player and hopefully play every game.”