Flintoff and KP fit for Windies

The two key England players are fit to boost England's hopes of a one-day series win against the West Indies.

Powered by automated translation

England's hopes of rounding off an otherwise miserable winter tour with a one-day series win against the West Indies have been handed a double boost with the news that Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen will be fit for the deciding game on Friday. Pietersen suffered a back spasm bowling his gentle off spin in the nine-wicket win in Barbados on Sunday, while Flintoff injured his left thumb attempting a catch.

Flintoff had an ultra-sound on his thumb after Sunday's win but both players remained in Barbados for tests. The pair will now join up with the party in St Lucia for Friday's showdown. Judging by his recent comments, Pietersen is desperate for the tour to end so he can return to England, but the captain Andrew Strauss does not believe his premier batsman's outburst has destabilised the dressing room.

"KP knows it's an England tour and we all stick at it together," said Strauss who took over the captaincy from Pietersen. "He has been nothing but supportive on this tour and very professional with the way he has gone about his business. "It's not worth dwelling on his comments too much and now we move to St Lucia. It's over, I had a chat with him about it and we move on from there." Meanwhile, the Indian Cricket League has confirmed it was ready to scrap contracts with players to enable them return to national duty. Players with links to the unauthorised ICL have been barred from playing inter- national cricket because of the Twenty20 league. However, with the ICL facing an uncertain future due to the economic slowdown, some players are keen to return to national teams.

Players have not been paid their dues, while the ICL tournament scheduled to be held earlier this year was scrapped. ICL's New Zealand players Shane Bond and Darly Tuffey and Pakistan's Adbur Razzaq and Rana Naved have expressed an interest in returning to the national fold. ICL director Kapil Dev has said the league would not hinder the players' efforts. "We are proud to give these players an opportunity to play for their countries," Kapil told the Hindustan Times.

"Unlike some other boards, we are against the idea of denying players the chance to represent their country." The Board of Control for Cricket in India banned the ICL because it rivals its own Twenty20 competition the Indian Premier League (IPL). ICL official Roland Landers confirmed some players had terminated their contracts. "If players want to take this route to play for their countries, we will not restrict them," he said.

"We have never restricted them from playing anywhere anyway." The Pakistan Cricket Board is keen to include ICL players in their national team, but are awaiting clearance from the International Cricket Council. PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said he had written to the ICC asking for clarity on whether players who have snapped ties with the ICL could return immediately to international duty. * With agencies