Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flintoff work miracles

England captain Michael Vaughan has tempered expectation levels surrounding the pending Test comeback of Andrew Flintoff and said he is “not a wizard”.

There has been much debate about Flintoff’s return to the five-day game after an absence of 18 months because of injury.

But now he is set to play in the second Test at Headingley, there is much excitement around that he can add the kind of firepower to England’s bowling and batting that was missed in the Lord’s Test, where the game petered out into a draw.

“I always had it in the back of my mind to get 'Freddie' back into the team - he just needed another game to prove to himself,” Vaughan told reporters. “He's got through a good game against Hampshire (for Lancashire) and he's ready to come back.

However, Vaughan added cautiously: “I think we are building him up a bit too much, I think it's a bit unfair on him. He's had 18 months out of the game, he's come back for Lancashire and done reasonably well. “He's not a wizard, he's not going to come and sprinkle dust, he's just going to come and perform how he can.

“But he does have that bit of X-factor about him. You know when you give him the ball he can create something and in the past when he's gone out to bat, he's made things happen. He also has the ability to take wonderful catches.

“His stature in the dressing-room is also important and I'm sure opposition teams around the world would rather play England without Freddie Flintoff than with him.”

The second Test begins on Friday in Leeds.

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