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Flintoff sweats on World Cup trip

Andrew Flintoff's long-term international future is again in doubt after a flaring up of his ankle injury forced him to withdraw from the fifth NatWest Series ODI against India at Headingley yesterday.

Flintoff had another scan on Saturday after he was unable to bowl in England's practice session and he faces more anguished discussions today to determine whether he will be fit for this month's Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. He is due to rejoin England in London tomorrow by which time a decision on his left ankle, which has already withstood three operations, should be known.

Flintoff returned with gusto for the opening match at the Rose Bowl, bowling in excess of 90mph. He missed the third ODI in Edgbaston because of a swollen knee but of far more concern was his recurring ankle problems at Old Trafford. He first twisted his right ankle in a fielding mishap then as the night wore on he felt growing discomfort in his left ankle.

He has bowled only 50.5 overs for Lancashire and England since recovering from mid-season surgery and must be doubtful for the last two NatWest matches, the Twenty20 World Cup and one-day series in Sri Lanka. South Africa will decide today whether to switch Twenty20 matches from the Wanderers to Centurion because the Johannesburg ground has suffered from heavy rainfall.

Marcus Trescothick has given a little more detail about the psychological problems that caused his self-imposed exile from international cricket. "When it first kicked off it was like, 'What is going on? I haven't got a clue where I am and what I am doing'," he told Scotland on Sunday. "I was like, 'No, there is nothing wrong, I just get a bit worried now and then'. I couldn't express it to people, so I was scared to say anything about it.

"It's always branded as a stress-related illness but I'm not mentally ill, that's for sure. It all came from the build-up of playing and training, practising and being away from home. You're stuck in the middle of a ground somewhere thinking 'I'm not sure if I want to do this, I'm not happy about doing this'. It's a constant fear."

While he believes he is getting to grips with his problem, Trescothick insists he will only make an international return if he is comfortable with his state of mind. "I'm not going to put myself through it because I know what it's like to be there [on the pitch] and I know what it's like to be playing for England, and as much as I want to do that I'm not going to sacrifice my health."

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