London: Star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff could return to lead England's campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in India in October-November, but there is a possibility he may play only as a batsman.
Flintoff has not played since he underwent a second operation on his left ankle in July, but chairman of selectors
David Graveney has said the Lancashire cricketer was on course to return for the mini World Cup.
The 14-member squad has to be named by September 7.
"We will consult our medics, but it's extremely positive Freddie has got a chance. There has been talk of him playing as a batsman in the initial stages but assuming he doesn't have any problems with his rehabilitation he will definitely be in the shake-up," Graveney said.
Flintoff, undergoing rehabilitation in Portugal, has been named in the provisional 30-man squad for the tournament.
If passed fit, Flintoff would also be a candidate to lead the team, and it would be a tough choice between him and
Andrew Strauss. But Graveney said "the selectors haven't even discussed the question of the captaincy yet."
Left-arm spinner bowler Ashley Giles, who has not played at all this summer due to a hip injury, may also make a return in the Champions Trophy.
"Giles is now concentrating on cricket-related skills. He's walking through his bowling action now, which is a very
positive sign," Graveney was quoted as saying by BBC on Sunday.
But the chairman of selectors admitted that fielding players returning from injury could be risky.
"Because of the timeline we've been given by the ICC of September 7, we're going to have to put people in there who we're not quite sure about," he said.