Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler set to face Hampshire in NatWest t20 Blast semi-final but Andrew Flintoff unlikely to play

ANDREW FLINTOFF

ANDREW FLINTOFF

First published in Sport

ENGLAND stars Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler will be available to play for Lancashire against Hampshire in Saturday’s NatWest T20 Blast semi-final, but Andrew Flintoff looks unlikely to be in the squad.

Buttler and Anderson have been named in England’s squad for the five-match one-day series against India which starts at Bristol on Monday.

But it is understood the duo will be allowed to play at finals day, where Lancashire face Giles White’s Hampshire in the second semi-final with Surrey or Birmingham Bears meeting the winners.

Flintoff, however, is running out of time to be fit in time for the big day at Edgbaston.

The former England all-rounder, who made his comeback to professional cricket this season, hasn’t played since picking up a calf strain following the group game against Leicestershire on July 11.

Lancashire have said in recent weeks that Flintoff would have to prove his fitness in a second team game before finals day to be involved – which he hasn’t been able to do. After filming for a new TV programme over the last week, Flintoff Tweeted on Monday night he was looking forward to getting back to batting and bowling.

One option to get Flintoff some match time would be to play him in Thursday's Royal London One-day Cup match against Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford with Lancashire already out of the competition.

However, it is understood that will be too soon for him, suggesting he won't be fit for Saturday either.

Former Hampshire bowler Kabir Ali is another Lancashire player fighting to be fit for Saturday.

The former England bowler missed the quarter-final win over Glamorgan at Emirates Old Trafford with a shoulder injury.

He has returned to bowling at full pace this week and has been involved in some fielding drills in the intervals during Lancashire’s LV County Championship match against Durham at Emirates Old Trafford over the last few days.

“He is making progress. It has been quite slow progress,” said Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple. “By Wednesday we will have a better idea, but it isn’t cut and dried yet.”

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