London(His). Andrew Flintoff has appeared in public for the first time in nine months after joining England’s backroom staff in an unofficial, unpaid role for the four-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Flintoff is recovering from serious injuries sustained while filming the BBC show Top Gear in December. He was airlifted to hospital after a car crash at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome. In this accident, his ribs were broken and there were injuries on his face and jaw.
He is a close friend of Rob Key, England’s managing director of men’s cricket, and has gradually come into the public eye this summer, attending several days of the Ashes series as a spectator, although on those occasions he has Tried to save it from the camera.
Flintoff arrived in Cardiff on Thursday and took part in fielding practice during England’s eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand on Friday. He was also seen wearing an England bucket hat while chatting with fellow coaching staff on the balcony of the dressing room.
England captain Jos Buttler, who played briefly with Flintoff when he returned for Lancashire in the T20 Blast in 2014, told ESPNcricinfo: “He is starting to do some things in cricket. “He’s great to have around.”
Butler said, “He is obviously an England legend and it is great to have him in the group. He has not been brought in with any specific role, just to be around and observe the team. Some boys can understand their mind a little. He has settled in really well with the team.”
Flintoff’s involvement is not expected to last beyond the fourth ODI at Lord’s next week and he will not travel for the World Cup in India next month.
Apart from occasional work as a broadcaster and commentator, he has had limited involvement in cricket since leaving the game as a player.
Last year the BBC broadcast a documentary he filmed called Freddy Flintoff’s Field of Dreams, in which he formed a cricket team from a group of disadvantaged teenagers in Preston.
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