Flintoff salutes improved England

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Andrew Flintoff knows England have made great strides in one-day cricket in recent months - but insists he is not worried about reclaiming a place in the side.

The 32-year-old all-rounder, who retired from Test cricket after last summer’s Ashes triumph and has not played since due to a career-threatening knee injury, is aiming to return to county action for Lancashire in the next few weeks.

In his absence, England have performed admirably in the limited-overs arena, winning the one-day series in South Africa at the end of 2009, emerging from the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in May as champions and yesterday wrapping up the NatWest Series by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia.

“They are doing well and they have improved,” Flintoff said. “It’s a new-look team with a few different faces in there and they are playing with a lot of confidence.

“They had a very good winter and a highlight was winning the Twenty20 World Cup.

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff gets some batting practice in at Old Trafford this morning. He hopes to return to action next month

“Every time they take to the field, they look like they believe they are going to win.”

Asked if he felt he would face a battle to get back into the team, Flintoff said: “We’ll see; it’s not something that I’m too worried about.

“My purpose now is to get onto a cricket field, performing for Lancashire and helping them.

“At this moment in time I’m just trying to play first and foremost. Once I’ve been out there, we’ll see where I’m at and take it from there.”

Flintoff took part in training with his Lancashire team-mates today and expects to be able to give an exact date for his competitive return soon.

“I’ve been out in Dubai, got back two days ago and I’ve been at Old Trafford this morning,” he said.

“I had a bat in the nets with the coach Peter Moores and I’ve been with the lads doing warm-ups and various things before the game against Yorkshire.

“Hopefully I’m going into the last phase of my rehab. The next thing is that I will probably go and see the specialist just to get the all-clear so I can start bowling, not at full tilt but so that I can start going through the actions.

“But, having a bat this morning, I was hitting them alright, so it’s encouraging.

“The timeline (for coming back) is the end of July or start of August and I still think that is the case.

“I can’t say I’m going to be fit for this game, or that is a definite game I’ll play in, but I think maybe in two weeks’ time I might be in a position to do that.”

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