ICC grant England extensionMartyn Corrin |
The ICC have given England three days’ grace in naming their 14 man squad for the ICC Champions’ Trophy, which takes place in India next month.
Thursday, September 7th, was originally scheduled as the deadline, but England now have three extra days to decide on the fitness of a few players, most notably their talisman Andrew Flintoff.
The three day extension is believed to have pushed Flintoff’s chances of competing in the tournament towards very likely. He is also expected to captain England in India, as he did in February and March, although David Graveney has remained tightlipped on that matter.
Flintoff is not, however, likely to bowl in the Champions’ Trophy, which means it is paramount that Steve Harmison is passed fit if England, currently ranked at 7 in ODIs, are to avoid embarassment. Harmison is believed to be fairly hopeful of recovering from his back complaint, but Darren Gough is likely to miss out with a shin injury.
Farcically, former England batsman Mike Gatting today said that Flintoff did not warrant a place in England’s ODI team if he wasn’t going to bowl. His is likely to be a lone voice though, with England in no position whatsoever to leave a player of Flintoff’s calibre out if it can be avoided.
England will face India, Australia and one of the qualifying teams in India.