Flintoff out of fourth Test


LONDON, February 21 – England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was ruled out Saturday of the fourth Test against the West Indies in Barbados with a right hip injury, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced.

ANDREW_FLINTOFFFlintoff, 31, underwent a scan on his hip on Friday and the results showed a muscle strain.

The ECB added the fast bowler and middle-order batsman would be reassessed over the coming days in the hope that he will be fit for the final Test in Trinidad and the one-day series which follows.

Flintoff bowled through the pain barrier on Thursday’s final day of the drawn third Test in Antigua which ended with England narrowly failing to level the series at 1-1 after they were unable to take the final West Indies wicket.

Such is Flintoff’s importance to England they have called up two men as potential replacements.

Amjad Khan and Ravi Bopara have both been summoned from the England Lions tour in New Zealand. to Barbados over the next few days, as cover for Flintoff.

Kent pace bowler Khan, who was born in Denmark, has yet to earn his maiden Test cap and was last involved in the England squad in India before Christmas, as cover for the injured Ryan Sidebottom.

Bopara, aged 23, last played for England in the One-day International series against India. The Essex batting all-rounder’s last Test was against Sri Lanka at Galle in December 2007.

If Flintoff’s latest injury turns out to be far more serious, it could be a major setback for him, as well as England’s hopes of winning the series.

Prior to the first Test at Kingston, he passed a fitness test on a left-side strain, and he is coming to the end of his first full year back in the England squad.

He made a return to national colours following a long-term ankle injury for the second Test of four against South Africa last year in England.

Flintoff is due to play for three weeks in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament after the Caribbean tour for the Chennai Super Kings. Together with England team-mate Kevin Pietersen, he was the most expensive buy in the recent IPL auction when he went for 1.55 million dollars.

But, with the Twenty20 World Cup and an Ashes series due to take place in England later this year, ECB chiefs may order him to rest in what will be a rare break in a crowded fixture schedule.

The final Test in Trinidad is due to start on March 6.