Freddie fright: Flintoff flies 1,000 miles for a scan but at least Monty's coming good


England enjoyed a satisfactory work-out in their warm-up match at Warner Park yesterday but their thoughts were firmly fixed a thousand miles west from here on an absent friend.

It was to Jamaica that Andrew Flintoff flew yesterday morning for a scan on his left side which felt sore when he bowled in the nets on Saturday.

A verdict is expected today after the results were sent to chief medical officer Nick Peirce in Loughborough for analysis last night.

Matt PrioR

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The word 'precautionary' was used by a spokesman, so it can only be hoped that Flintoff returned to St Kitts last night fit and well (mind you, Darren Pattinson was called up last summer 'as a precaution' and we all know what happened next).


But with the first Test against the West Indies only eight days away, it has to be a concern. It was a problem with his left side that delayed Flintoff's return last summer until the second Test against South Africa.

And if the Lancastrian cannot play in the match here against West Indies A on Thursday, he would go into a Test, fitness permitting, with no bowling match practice on tour.

Flintoff, who was sent the relatively long distance to Jamaica because the facilities are better there, was not England's only fitness concern during a match against a St Kitts and Nevis team that has gone pretty much as well as they could have hoped so far.

Owais Shah, whose unbeaten century on Sunday was overshadowed by Kevin
Pietersen's pyrotechnics, woke up with blurred vision and was diagnosed with a scratch to his cornea, a condition that ruled him out of the rest of this match and left him, Long John Silver-like, with a patch over his left eye.

In his case, however, there should be no problem. 'The doctor said anything could have caused it, maybe I rubbed my eye with a bit of sand, but it should heal up overnight,' said Shah. 'It feels fine and I should be available for the next game.'

Andrew Flintoff

Flintoff: Pain in his left side after Saturday's practice

Rumours that Ian Bell's fingernails were going to be studied for evidence were said to be greatly exaggarated. England's attack, which included Stuart Broad as a substitute for Flintoff, was workmanlike rather than being particularly penetrative.

Jimmy Anderson deserved his two wickets, Broad enjoyed a lively first spell and Monty Panesar was clearly seeking to bowl with more variation after working with new spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed.

His reward was four wickets, one of them smartly stumped by Matt Prior, who had an excellent day behind the stumps. Adil Rashid, brought on this trip mainly for experience, was preferred here to Graeme Swann and showed enough in his first overs as a senior England player to demonstrate why he is so highly regarded.

Rashid, with a high action that is more Mushtaq than Shane Warne, claimed his first England wicket with a googly but there was a suspicion that Terrance Ward did not touch the ball that ballooned up to Prior on the leg-side.

Which leaves Steve Harmison, who was the least impressive of the bowlers and looked both rusty and possibly a little heavy.

We have, of course, been here before with Harmison, most notably in New Zealand this time last year when he turned up woefully under-prepared to tour and was banished after the first Test in Hamilton.

Sabina Park, Jamaica, however, was where Harmison took the small matter of seven for 12 against West Indies five years ago and he remains integral to England's hopes for a successful tour.

The splendidly named Codvile Rogers held England up with a flourishing 63 but the home side were dismissed for 251, giving England a lead of 173 which they had increased by 118 at stumps.

Andrew Strauss, out second ball in his first innings as England captain, was involved in a moment of controversy when he claimed a catch at slip off Joel Simmonds that the square leg umpire judged had not carried but the new skipper's match improved when he reached 59 unbeaten at the close.

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