All England fans will have their fingers crossed that Andrew Flintoff will be fit to face Australia this summer and so far he is on course, but nothing will be taken for granted.
The all-rounder had keyhole knee surgery back in April after picking up a problem during the IPL and has been a doubt for the Ashes ever since.
But Flintoff is now on target to be involved in the opening Test on July 8 having made a welcome return to action for Lancashire – the 31-year-old taking six wickets in his county’s loss to Durham.
That return was earlier than expected and there were fears that he was rushing back too soon, not so claims Lancashire coach Peter Moores.
The former England boss was upbeat with his assessment of Flintoff’s fitness and has indicated that Freddie could make his 76th Test appearance next month, when Cardiff hosts its first Ashes encounter.
Moores admitted: “Physically he’s quite tired because when you’ve not played competitively for a couple of months, never mind his knee, just the whole body, it’s getting used to match intensity again.”
If Flintoff is fit then there will be big decisions for England’s selectors, who look likely to throw him straight back into the Test arena…..but should they?
England have just started to rebuild since the appointment of Andrew Strauss as skipper and there look to be the first signs of improvement, granted it was against a lackluster West Indies side in favourable conditions earlier this summer.
But many feel a player of Flintoff’s quality should be a certain inclusion and his impact in 2005’s ‘greatest ever’ Test series is likely to send fear through the Australian squad.
A bowler is likely to miss out if Freddie gets the nod, with Ryan Sidebottom, Graham Onions and Steve Harmison tipped to battle it out for one bowling berth.
My predicted England line-up: Cook, Strauss, Bopara, Pieterson, Collingwood, Prior, Flintoff, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Harmison.