Fresh injury scare for Flintoff hands in-form Harmison an England recall

ENGLAND last night played down injury concerns surrounding Andrew Flintoff, insisting they are hopeful the all-rounder will be fit for the second Ashes Test at Lord&rsquo;s which starts on Thursday.<br /><br />The 31-year-old underwent a precautionary scan on the same knee he was operated on earlier this year after complaining of soreness and stiffness during a 12-hour stint in the field during the drawn opening Test in Cardiff.<br /><br />As a result, fast bowler Steve Harmison has been included in a 14-man squad for the second Test, but although Flintoff&rsquo;s injury isn&rsquo;t believed to be as bad as first feared, the Lancastrian will be closely monitored over the next 48 hours.<br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s a flare-up, it&rsquo;s just a reaction to one of his old knee injuries but I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s bad from what we can make out,&rdquo; said national selector Geoff Miller. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not disastrous but we just have to be very wary of it and monitor it and we&rsquo;ve produced a selection to cover that. Andrew knows himself how painful it is and whether he&rsquo;ll be able to compete, but it&rsquo;s a long series and we&rsquo;ve got four more games to play so we&rsquo;ve got to take that into consideration.&rdquo;<br /><br />Harmison comes into the squad on the back of an impressive performance for the Lions against Australia at Worcester, and another five-wicket haul for Durham over the weekend.<br /><br />If Flintoff does fail to recover, then Harmison is expected to come in as a like-for-like strike bowler with Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann expected to move up the batting order, although Broad is also reportedly carrying a slight calf problem. Another option is to bring in Ian Bell to bolster the middle order, but with captain Andrew Strauss known to favour a five-man specialist bowling attack, his only dilemma is expected to be a straight choice between spinner Monty Panesar and seamer Graham Onions.<br /><br />One player who welcomes the recall of Harmison is his England hero Paul Collingwood, who insists his Durham team-mate will not let anyone down. &ldquo;When Harmy bowls and bowls a lot of overs he gets back to that kind of form that we know he can get into and that&rsquo;s bowling fast and being quite ferocious,&rdquo; said Collingwood, whose brave batting display helped England secure a draw in Cardiff.<br /><br />&ldquo;We saw that Worcester last week and watching him there it seemed his accuracy was there and his pace was up and it looked like he had a lot of confidence. A fit and firing Steve Harmison is always good for the squad.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>ENGLAND SQUAD FOR 2ND TEST</strong><br />AJ Strauss (capt); AN Cook (Essex), RS Bopara (Essex), KP Pietersen (Hants), PD Collingwood (Durham), MJ Prior (Sussex, wkt), A Flintoff (Lancs), SCJ Broad (Notts), GP Swann (Notts), JM Anderson (Lancs), MS Panesar (Northants), IR Bell (Warwicks), G Onions, SJ Harmison (both Durham)