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England captain Michael Vaughan believes Andrew Flintoff could play in the First Test against New Zealand.

The Lancastrian all-rounder could return as a number seven batsman in the Lord's Test that starts on May 15, after returning to action for his county this summer following the agony of enduring four ankle operations.

Vaughan told The Times: "For a long time I was a fan of five bowlers but, since we've had to do without Fred, I've realised that while five might be ideal, it's certainly possible to do with four in Test cricket.

"That's the way I'm looking right now. Most other Test teams have a number six who averages 45 in Test cricket, so I'm looking at Flintoff at seven and four bowlers.

"He hasn't played at number six for a long time and, for Fred, his bowling rhythm comes much more naturally than his batting.

"The only problem with four bowlers is that it asks a lot of his fitness, which we'll find out about over the next few months, and it asks more of Monty Panesar, who might have to bowl, say, 25 overs on a first-day pitch, but I've got no worries about him."
 
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