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London: Jun 5, 2014
Andrew Flintoff‘s much-talked about return to county cricket won’t take place this week after he was left out of Lancashire‘s squad to play Yorkshire in a Twenty20 match at Old Trafford on Friday. Last week saw Lancashire announce that the 36-year-old all-rounder was back in their Twenty20 squad five years after the former England captain’s injury-induced retirement. But after he took scored just 16 and took two wickets but leaked 39 runs in a second XI T20 defeat by Leicestershire at Arundel on Thursday, Flintoff was omitted from the senior Lancashire squad announced for the ‘Roses’ match, with the side bidding for their fifth straight win in this season’s competition.
England great Ian Botham warned Flintoff was making a “massive mistake” in coming out of retirement. Flintoff, like Botham a pace bowling all-rounder and ex-England captain, was forced to quit in 2009, his ankles and knees having repeatedly suffered from the pounding they took as he charged in. “While I wish him all the very best, I think he is making a massive mistake,” Botham wrote in a recent Daily Mirror column. “We’ve not seen Fred on a cricket field since those memorable days in 2009 — and five years is a long time out of the game. Unless he’s managed to swap knees with someone, I don’t know how it has suddenly got better, allowing him to tear in and play the game properly.”
But after playing for club side St Annes last weekend, Flintoff tweeted: “Thanks for your concerns @BeefyBotham but being happy is never a mistake!” A powerful batsman and aggressive bowler, Flintoff’s best series was when he scored 402 runs and took 24 wickets as England regained the Ashes 2-1 in 2005.
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