ENGLAND all-rounder Andrew Flintoff announced on Tuesday he would be spending a couple of months in Dubai as part of his recovery from a knee injury.
The 31-year-old underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee the day after England's Ashes series-winning Test victory at the Oval last month - his last before an injury-induced retirement from the five-day game. Now the Lancashire star, who wants to continue as an ODI player, is set to move his young family out to the United Arab Emirates before the Christmas holidays.
"It's always easier doing rehabili-tation in warm weather and that's the main reason why we've decided to go to Dubai," said Flintoff. "Three years ago when I was recovering from my ankle (injury), we all went to Florida as a family and it worked really well and I see this being a similar situation.
"I can't drive for at least another six weeks, so it will be difficult getting from A to B and doing my rehabilitation without relying on someone else to drive if I stayed in England.
"Where we are staying in Dubai, all I have to do is press the right button in the lift to get from our apartment to the gym and everything I need is on the doorstep. It is also a chance to get away from things as a family and enjoy a bit of a break. It has been a hard summer and I think we will all benefit from a few weeks in the sun."
Flintoff will work with former England physio Dave Roberts, a close friend, as he bids to regain full fitness. He had a fresh injury scare when suffering deep-vein thrombosis as a side-effect of surgery but Flintoff has since been given the all clear to fly.
"I had a stiff calf and it got progressively worse," said the England star, who is on a course of anticoagulants and will be on crutches for at least one more month.
"I spent the night in hospital, but it's more of a complication than something that's really going to affect my rehabilitation.
"When I came out of the operation I was actually quite surprised how good my knee was. About a week after the operation it got really sore."
Roberts, who has played a key role in helping Flintoff recover from four ankle operations and knee surgery earlier this year, said: "It will be a long, hard road for him but we have been through this before and we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think we could get where we want to be."
Flintoff, whose place in England's squad for the Champions Trophy tournament in South Africa has been taken by Durham paceman Graham Onions, hopes to be fit in time for the one-day section of England's tour of Bangladesh next year. - Sapa-AFP