DateLine: 22nd February 2009
Andrew Flintoff has been ruled out of the fourth Test against West Indies, beginning on February 26 in Barbados, after scans revealed a muscle strain in his right hip. However, he will remain with the squad for the time being and will continue to be assessed regularly by the medical staff.
The news is not unexpected after Flintoff bowled in pain for much of the third Test in Antigua, especially on the final day, when he put in three spells as England pushed for a victory which was ultimately denied by West Indies' last pair.
England have flown in two players, fast bowler Amjad Khan and batting allrounder Ravi Bopara, from New Zealand - where they were touring with the England Lions squad - as cover for Flintoff. Although the England camp are trying to remain positive about this latest problem, with the last two Tests being back-to-back, there have to be serious questions marks as to whether Flintoff will recover in time for the Trinidad Test, which begins on March 6.
This is the second injury setback for Flintoff on this tour after he picked up a side strain before the first warm-up match in St Kitts and was subsequently withdrawn from that game after the first day. He recovered in time for the first Test and sent down 33 overs at Sabina Park.
Following the Test series there is a one-off Twenty20 international followed by five ODIs. Flintoff is due to take part in the IPL for three weeks just a few days after completing the tour. However, this new injury will raise doubts over his availability, given England's summer schedule, which includes a home series against West Indies, the World Twenty20 and the Ashes.