London, May 11 : England all-rounder Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff has been ruled out of the first two Tests against New Zealand this summer following a side strain.
Flintoff, who has enjoyed an encouraging start to the season for Lancashire following ankle surgery in the winter, experienced some discomfort in his left side while bowling for Lancashire on Friday at Old Trafford. He was assessed and received treatment by the Lancashire medical team and subsequent scans on Friday evening confirmed the diagnosis of a side strain.
"Obviously I'm bitterly disappointed to be unavailable for Test selection due to this injury as I'm really enjoying my cricket with Lancashire and feel my bowling has been improving with each match," Flintoff said.
"It's very frustrating to have picked up an injury at this time, but I want nothing more than to return to the England side and will continue to do everything required to make myself available for selection," he added.
The 12-man squad to face New Zealand for the first Test at Lord's will be announced on Sunday morning. The possible team could be as follows: Michael Vaughan (captain), Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose (wicket keeper), Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard.