18 1/2 months, one pedalo, two ankle operations and a side strain since his last Test appearance, Andrew Flintoff is set to make his return to England's side at Headingley on Friday.
"There's a bit of X-factor about him," said captain Michael Vaughan about Freddie's return. Well it's mainly been X-ray in the last few years but there is no doubt he is one of England's top three seamers and deserves his place in the side as a bowler.
Paul Collingwood is the most likely man to make way as Flintoff slots in as part of a five-man attack, although his batting - a Test average of 32.5 and that is actually under 30 with no hundreds in the 15 Tests since he fell onto that bus around London in 2005 - is palpably not a number six standard, not even for New Zealand.
Ryan Sidebottom, because of his back problem, may make life easy for the selectors AND Vaughan who is good mates with Colly and has been spotted going for a evening stroll, albeit not hand in hand, with the Durham man.
We couldn't get the views of the great and good so we canvassed opinion from the country's leading cricket hacks who are pretty unanimous that Colly must go.
Mike Selvey (The Guardian): The retention of Tim Ambrose means that the dropping of a batsman weakens the potential batting horribly despite the Durham man's run of bad form. But if they intend Flintoff to play as one of only four bowlers then their experience at Lord's, and his own against Sri Lanka two years ago in similar circumstances, ought to act as a cautionary tale.
Angus Fraser (The Independent): Omitting Collingwood, a player who continues to give so much to the team, will be a tough decision for the selectors, especially after the poor umpiring decision that prevented him from impressing here at Lord's, but it is the correct one. Collingwood has been in poor form for England this summer, scoring only 39 runs at an average of 9.75 in four Tests. It is 14 matches since his last Test hundred. Replacing him with Flintoff would be a tactical as much as a form decision. England needed a fifth bowler at Lord's, especially one capable of hurling the ball at more than 90mph with a bit of reverse swing. Headingley is a ground where four bowlers have won Tests, but it would be a cautious option.
Mike Atherton (The Times): Flintoff's form with the bat, and that of Tim Ambrose, will give England a shaky-looking lower middle order if Flintoff plays at six. But, as England discovered, four bowlers can be left with an awful lot to do. Paul Collingwood, a victim of rough justice in this match, will have to go. Cruel, but there you are.
Derek Pringle (Daily Telegraph): Given the general strain of back-to-back Tests and the physical exertions of England's four-pronged bowling unit over the past few days at Lord's, a five-man combination would seem prudent. That would mean leaving out a batsman, with the unlucky Paul Collingwood being the most likely. Five bowlers means fewer batsmen, however, a risky tactic against a South African team unlikely to bowl as poorly as they did in the opening Test. Although Flintoff has made runs in his last two appearances for Lancashire, he is not batting as well as he was when he last filled the six slot for England.
But just before Stuart Broad - still only 18 wickets at 45 despite his splendid batting - orders 30 tickets for friends and family, here is a note of caution:
Vaughan: "Collingwood's a fighter, always has been, and he could play at Headingley and get a hundred, that's the kind of player he is. He's always fought for England, so he's a good man to have in the team, and we expect him to carry on like that."
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Neil McKenzie's act of defiance at Lord's was a throwback to the good ole' days when scoring at in excess of three an over was seen as crazy and wacky as those new-fangled Betamax video machines.
Cowers has indeed batted twice for an hour and not managed to get into double figures. Even his heroic two not out in 60 minutes against Rochester Maths U15s way back when (we can't give away too many details otherwise we will no doubt start getting stalked by the paps) really pales into insignificance compared to McKenzie's nine and a quarter hour 138.
As we flicked through old copies of Wisden for the slowest double century of all-time, our mind immediately wandered to innings of monumental tedium.
Officials at Guantanamo Bay are still considering a real-time replay of Chris Tavare's 35 in five and a half hours (yes five and a half hours kids) in Madras in 1982 as an alternative form of torture.
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INAPPROPRIATE RING TONE OF THE DAY: Did anyone else see Shaun Pollock search frantically in his pocket after his Nokia went off whilst David Gower was interviewing Nasser Hussain after the Test.
FEEDBACK OF THE DAY: "I love the haeccitas of a totally pointless draw! Reminds me of the Ashes series when Bill Lawrie was Aussie captain. The old classical questions are once more resurrected for the uninitiated. What the hell is going on? Why are they doing this? Who are this people?" james_ssmith - Cow Corner's very own Walter Mitty - puts the youth of today to rights.
TALKING POINT: Should Collingwood go? And do you fondly remember any innings so slow that you have started getting booed by your own team-mates.
LIVE: The Pro40 begins tonight - it's Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire from 4.30pm