Leg-spin legend Shane Warne has asked critics to lay their hands off Andrew Flintoff saying the England all-rounder is aware that he can not jeopardise his participation in the Ashes by playing half fit in Indian Premier League.
Flintoff, recuperating from a hip muscle injury, will not take part in England’s fourth Test against the West Indies in the Caribbean raising doubts that his participation in the IPL could further hamper chances of playing in the Ashes.
England and Wales Cricket Board chief David Collier has even hinted that Flintoff could be barred from playing for the Chennai super Kings in the second edition of the IPL if it is deemed that his fitness could be at risk.
But Warne insisted Flintoff would not put the IPL cash above England and would not take part in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament if he is not fully fit.
“Ashes will be most important thing to Andrew Flintoff. If the IPL is going to jeopardise him playing for England in Ashes, then I don’t think Flintoff will go to IPL. He’ll make sure he’s 100 per cent fit,” Warne told ‘Sky Sports’.
“If he thinks he’s fit and he wants to go and play in the IPL, no problem at all.”
Warne feels Flintoff is vital to England chances of regaining the Ashes. “England need Flintoff in Ashes to have a chance. If Flintoff doesn’t play in Ashes 2009, Australia will win, no doubt about it,” said Warne.