Carlton-Mid ODI Tri-Series 2014-15 January 18, 2015

Flintoff pulls on an England shirt

ESPNcricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff gets involved in a boxing session with Joe Root © Getty Images

Five-and-a-half years after he last bowled for England, as they regained the Ashes at The Oval in 2009, Andrew Flintoff was running in wearing an England shirt, albeit a training one, as he joined the squad in Brisbane.

He played a full part in the session at the Gabba, getting involved in a boxing session and chatting with various members of the team before marking out his run. He was quick to thank the current set-up for inviting him to take part, and also noted how the standards expected at training continue to grow.

After the session Flintoff tweeted: "Great fun bowling in the nets @ECB_cricket lads today!! It's fair to say they practice harder than "in my day"!

"As an ex player It's the greatest compliment to be welcomed back into the dressing @ECB_cricket! Thank you."

There remain some strong links between this squad and Flintoff, not least with the coach Peter Moores who instigated Flintoff's time with them in Brisbane. He also played alongside Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Ravi Bopara with Bell going as far back as the 2005 Ashes.

"Any player who's played for their country, and played brilliantly, it's great to have them around the squad,'' Moores told Sky Sports News. "Some things move on and some things stay exactly the same.

"He came in and gave his view, he had a bowl, and it was good to have him around. With past players, to make sure we build up those relationships is really important. We've had some great players who've played for England in the past and a group of players now whose job is to represent their country that way now.''

Jos Buttler, who has briefly been a team-mate with Flintoff at Lancashire during his T20 comeback, was thrilled to be able to spend time with him.

"It's always great to talk to guys who played the game and obviously being such a big character and such a great player for England as well, I'm sure everyone will want to chat to him,'' Buttler added. "He can talk about his career and we can pick his brains. He's also been playing in Brisbane so he should have some local knowledge for us as well."

England are preparing for the second match of the tri-series against India on Tuesday. With Australia winning their opening two matches, including one with a bonus point, it is already looked as though the contest is now who will join them in the final at the WACA.

Anderson, who missed the opening match against Australia after having problems with his troublesome knee, bowled a lengthy spell during the net session on Sunday. If available to face India he would likely replace either Steven Finn or Chris Jordan, while England will need to consider whether they can fit James Tredwell into the line-up.

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