Freddie Flintoff has reportedly been handed a mentoring role with the England team nine months after suffering serious injuries in an accident while filming BBC show Top Gear. The 45-year-old was pictured for the first time since the crash on Friday as he worked with the England squad during their one-day international defeat to New Zealand at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.
According to the Daily Mail, Flintoff almost died after his three-wheeled open-top car, which didn’t have airbags, flipped over at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, Surrey, in December at 130mph. But an EBC source told the publication that the former all-rounder is back in cricket for good but will be taking things slowly mentoring players.
And England star Liam Livingstone paid tribute to the “national hero” as he explained: “It’s incredible to have someone of his experience with us. He was obviously one of my heroes growing up. Thankfully I’ve been around Fred a little bit at Lancashire and he’s back at Old Trafford a bit more again now with his boys coming through at the club.
“It’s been great for the lads to have him here now. We’ve all been talking to him, especially when we were batting. You’ve got three and a half hours to pick the brains of someone who’s been there and done it. He’s a national hero so everybody loves that Fred’s going to be with us for the whole of this series and I’m sure he will enjoy himself as well.”
Flintoff played 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven T20s for England and starred for the Three Lions during their famous 2005 Ashes victory over Australia. His final England appearance came in 2009 and he retired from the sport the following year, before announcing a U-turn to play for Lancashire in the T20 and for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League in 2014.
Flintoff, who quit the sport for good at the start of 2015, has been involved in a whole host of TV projects and joined the Top Gear presenting team alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in 2019.
But in March, the BBC apologised to Flintoff for his injuries and announced that the latest series of Top Gear would be axed. “Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time,” the corporation said in a statement.
“We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgment about how best to continue later this year. This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support. Finally there will be a health and safety review of the show, in line with our procedures.”
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