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Cricket: Warne: Flintoff is vital to Ashes bid.

Byline: BY RICH JONES

ENGLAND can only win this year's Ashes with Andrew Flintoff in the side, said Shane Warne - and the Australian is confident the all-rounder will not risk his participation by playing in the Indian Premier League if unfit.

Flintoff has been ruled out of this week's fourth Test against the West Indies in Barbados with a hip strain and it is unclear whether he will be able to return for the final match of the series and the limited-overs games in the Caribbean.

The Lancastrian is due to fly out for a three-week stint in the IPL in April, having been auctioned off for pounds 1million to the Chennai Super Kings.

Former spinner Warne, who tormented England on countless occasions during an illustrious career, believes Flintoff would never put the riches on offer in the IPL ahead of the chance to avenge his country's whitewash in the last Ashes series.

Warne said: "If the IPL is going to jeopardise him playing for England in the Ashes, then I don't think Flintoff will go to the IPL.

He'll make sure he's 100% fit."

Warne added: "England need Andrew Flintoff to play in the Ashes to have a chance.

"If Flintoff doesn't play in the Ashes series 2009, Australia will win, no doubt about it."

SUMMARIES: Test Match Karachi Sri Lanka 644-7 dec (D P M D Jayawardene 240, T T Samaraweera 231, K C Sangakkara 70, B S M Warnapura 59) & 144-5 (K C Sangakkara 65) v Pakistan 765-6 dec (Younus Khan 313, Kamran Akmal 158 no, Faisal Iqbal 57, Shoaib Malik 56, Yasir Arafat 50 no) Pakistan drew with Sri Lanka

First Twenty20 International Christchurch India 162-8 Innings Complete (S K Raina 61 no) v New Zealand 166-3 (B B McCullum 56 no) New Zealand beat India by 7 wkts Other Match Lincoln Oval England Lions 278 (G J Batty 66, S C Moore 59, M J McClenaghan 5-36) v NZC Emerging Players 12-0.

TODAY: Test Match (day 1 of 5) (S) Johannesburg: South Africa v Australia Fourth Test Match (day 1 of 5) (S)

Barbados: West Indies v England (14.00) Other Match (day 2 of 2)

Lincoln Oval: NZC Emerging Players v England Lions (21.30)

(S) indicates Sunday play

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2009
Words:379
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