Josh Tongue is relishing the chance to be mentored by ‘idol’ Andrew Flintoff during England Lions tour… as he targets becoming established multi-format international bowler
- Josh Tongue ‘had to pinch himself’ when he heard Flintoff was going on UAE trip
- Fast bowler hoping to establish himself for England in white ball cricket
- An injury picked up in the Hundred stopped him making his limited-over debut
Josh Tongue will use the next fortnight working alongside his hero Andrew Flintoff trying to prove he is a multi-format international bowler.
Tongue, 26, made two Test appearances last summer, but was denied the chance to win some white-ball caps for England on home soil due to injury, and is therefore in line for double debuts in twin one-day and Twenty20 series next month.
Prior to that, he is with England Lions in Abu Dhabi, building up his all-round fitness as well as practising some skills that will come in useful when England tour India in January-March.
‘Obviously, I have played a lot more red ball than white ball but I do see myself as an all three format bowler and I want to get better at my white ball cricket, so hopefully I can showcase that in the West Indies.
‘I bowled quite well in the Hundred, so I know that I have the skills to be a white-ball cricketer. It is the yorkers and slower balls I need to improve on as one of my main areas of getting better is the back end of the innings.’
England bowler Josh Tongue is keen to establish himself as a multi-format bowler in the coming months
The 26-year-old made two Test appearances last summer but injury denied him the chance to take part in any white ball cricket
Of Lions mentor and 2005 Ashes star Flintoff, he added: ‘This is my first time meeting Freddie, we’ve only had little chats but I know over the UAE trip we will have a lot more.
‘He was my idol – so as soon as I found out he was coming on this trip it was like a pinch myself sort of thing.’
Tongue, who played in Test matches against both Ireland and Australia at Lord’s in 2023, would have featured in limited-overs cricket for England already, but for a late-season niggle.
‘I had a tear in my pec towards the back end of the Hundred, it was the last group game and it was bit too sore to carry on and I was looking towards the winter and stuff and I didn’t want to make it worse,’ he explained.
Thankfully, however, for a bowler who is able to regularly hit speeds touching 90 miles per hour, the recurring shoulder problem that threatened to end his career just 18 months ago is being kept at bay with Botox treatments that settle the nerves around the joint.
‘In Sri Lanka with the Lions last winter, we finished the ‘Test’ series and I stayed on for the white ball matches and it came back a bit there, so I flew back to the UK and got an injection in February and I have had no symptoms since then, touch wood,’ Tongue added.
‘But if it does start coming back, I can come home and get an injection straightaway; it’s not a long lay off so I’d be back bowling in a week or two.’
Tongue has expressed his delight at the chance to work with ‘idol’ Andrew Flintoff while on tour with England Lions in the UAE
Flintoff will travel to Abu Dhabi as a mentor for the Lions team during their winter training camp
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