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Flintoff targets more Old Trafford Tests

Investec Test Series

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff admits he would love to still be playing Test match cricket by the time Old Trafford is redeveloped.

Lancashire have unveiled plans for a £70million refurbishment of their home of the last 151 years, which is aimed at bringing Test match cricket back to Manchester, in particular for an Ashes Test in 2013.

Old Trafford will not stage a Test clash between England and Australia next summer, with Cardiff getting the nod.

Flintoff, 30, hopes to extend his international career and admits he would be eager to play for England once Old Trafford has its new look, although he recognises that is a lot to ask.

“I don’t know but I would love to,” he said today. “Over the past few years it has been tough with all the injuries.

“It would be nice to, but I have just got to concentrate on getting through this year first, then the next one and the next one.”

This morning Flintoff and his Lancashire and England team-mate James Anderson unveiled two photographs of what the ground is due to look like.

The proposed changes will include two new grandstands, a redesigned pavilion, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, permanent floodlights and a new hotel. The capacity will increase from 15,000 to 25,000 for international matches.

The Red Rose county will begin work on turning the current square around by 90 degrees at the end of the 2009 season.

New media facilities and dressing room will be behind the bowler’s arm, opposite the pavilion as it sits today.

James Anderson & Andrew Flintoff

James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff contrast the new-look Old Trafford with the ground whose outfield is being relaid

“It looks lovely,” assessed Flintoff. “One of the big things for me is keeping the pavilion.

“You don’t quite know what will happen but it looks a great building and one we have been looking forward to for a long time.

“You go to some grounds around the world and they don’t have any character, they are like football grounds.

“But this seems to have kept some of the old traditions along with bringing in some pretty radical buildings as well. I think it will look great.

“We need to get Test cricket back here as soon as we can. We need to make this a venue that can’t be turned down. Once you get all that up it will be impossible not to have games here.

“Looking at the pictures you can’t imagine not having anything here. I know it is only a picture but it does look great.”

Flintoff is still coming to terms with the decision not to award his home ground next summer’s Ashes Test.

“It’s huge (to play for England at your home ground). To be missing out on the Ashes next year was obviously disappointing for the club, the supporters, myself and probably Jimmy as well,” he said.

“Especially when you look at the last one with 20,000 people locked out at the gates.”

Anderson said: “The first impressions are that it is quite drastic but at the same time the ground needs it. We need to get back up to international standard to get the Test matches back.

“I have only played two Tests here but it has been great. To be able to get all the family here is a big thing. It’s not as easy for them to get to other grounds.

“From an England point of view it has been a successful ground for us over the last few years.”

On the re-orientation of the square from east to west to north to south, Anderson added: “That is good for ‘Fred’ but not so good for me because I enjoy bowling with the wind. The sun has been a bit of a problem on a couple of occasions.

“I hear that it might do a bit for the first couple of years after it has been turned around. That is good for everyone.”

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