Injured England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is feeling heat to skip the Indian Premier League after Australia skipper Ricky Ponting opted out of the event to keep himself fresh for Ashes series and the Twenty20 World Cup.
Flintoff, 31, injured his hip during England’s third Test against the West Indies and have been ruled out of the fourth Test following a scan.
The all-rounder, who has been lapped up by IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings in the players’ auction for a record $1.55 million, expects to be back for the final Test but already a growing chorus wants Flintoff to stay away from the Twenty20 event and save his best for the Ashes.
The England players are available for a three-week window.
Meanwhile, one of the English cricketers who signed up for the lucrative tournament made it clear that he is going to take part in the IPL.
“Ponting can do what he likes. I’m playing in IPL, end of story,” he said.
However, with a host of Australian players deciding to stay away from the IPL this season, the England and Wales Cricket Board seems to be in a fix over the workload of their players.
England assistant coach Andy Flower made it clear that a decision to bar players from the IPL would be taken by ECB managing director Hugh Morris and the new team director, a post the former Zimbabwe skipper is likely to apply for.
“Fred is injured now but there is still quite a way until the IPL, so we will have to monitor that,” Flower was quoted as saying in the ‘Daily Telegraph’.
“I haven’t seen the reasons for Ponting’s decision but as far as our guys are concerned they are committed to doing the IPL. But if there are any injury problems Hugh Morris and the new director of cricket will have to make a decision closer to the time,” he added.