• News round-up

    Former England allrounder Andrew Flintoff believes Ben Stokes can become one of England’s greats and rates the allrounder as a more talented player than he was.

    Flintoff played a major role in England’s Ashes success in 2005 – their first for 18 years – when his 24 wickets and 402 runs drew comparisons with Ian Botham, one of the world’s all-time great allrounders.

    The 37-year-old told the BBC that the New Zealand-born Stokes has shown more talent than him since his Test debut in Australia 18 months ago.

    ‘I was a pretty unskilful cricketer,’ said Flintoff, who was forced into retirement by a knee injury in 2009 after 79 tests and 141 one-dayers. ‘I survived a lot on bravado and trying to use my size.

    ‘It’s always hard when people get compared but I think Stokes should set his standards a little bit higher rather than think about me. I think Stokes has a lot more skill. He could be one of England’s greats.’ – Reuters


    Aaron Finch has been taken to hospital for x-rays following a nasty blow to the chest while batting for Yorkshire’s second XI.

    The Australian limited-overs opener mistimed a pull shot on to his ribs while facing Worcestershire’s Chris Russell in the lower-tier county match at Barnt Green near Birmingham on Monday, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club said.

    Finch retired hurt and managed to walk from the field but reportedly found himself spitting blood after leaving the pitch.

    ‘He left the field unaided and it was decided that he should go to hospital for a scan,’ Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon said.

    ‘We are waiting for results of that scan, but felt it was best for him to return to Leeds. We will monitor the situation and liaise with Cricket Australia.’ – Reuters


    New Zealand’s cricketers remain opposed to featuring in the inaugural day-night Test in Australia later this year but face the prospect of being forced to play.

    A recent survey of 20 leading Black Caps found that 17 were opposed to taking part in a pink-ball Test which Cricket Australia hopes to schedule in November, with Adelaide the front-runner for a match designed to open up the sport’s most traditional format to a prime-time audience.

    NZC has yet to give CA an official answer while the Black Cap players are also in limbo.

    NZC players’ association chief Heath Mills told Fairfax Media on Monday that he hoped for an answer later in the week when he met NZC chiefs. – Sydney Morning Herald