County news May 4, 2014

A Flintoff comeback? Surely not

32

Lancashire have sought to calm speculation that Andrew Flintoff will make an extraordinary comeback for the county in the NatWest T20 Blast this summer but they have not entirely ruled out the possibility that, at 36, he will be seen playing competitive cricket for the first time in nearly five years.

On the day when Old Trafford hosted early X-Factor auditions, cynical observers may conclude that the merest hint of Flintoff's return would do no harm to Lancashire's marketing plans as England's Twenty20 completion is relaunched as predominantly a Friday evening tournament over much of this summer.

Yet it was really was Flintoff, the former England all-rounder, batting and bowling in Old Trafford's outdoor nets on Sunday afternoon perhaps - just perhaps - suggesting that the rumour of a possible return was more than merely an advertising ploy.

It is almost impossible to believe that Flintoff would be anything like ready to play in Lancashire's early T20 matches - the county's programme begins a week on Friday - and it is surely much more likely that he will turn out for his old club St Annes in their 20-over matches and see how he feels then. Very tired, probably.

He sent a message to St Annes through his grandfather in April that he might fancy a hit in Twenty20 and the club registered him just in case.

Paul Allott, the former England bowler and Sky TV commentator, who is a member of Lancashire's seven-man board, was careful to downplay the prospect of Flintoff playing for Lancashire again after a story that the county wanted him to do so appeared in a Sunday newspaper.

"Andrew has been mentoring the Academy players and he has been helping Kyle Hogg," said Allott. "We haven't asked him to come back and he hasn't come to us saying that he wants to play. He has been more than useful helping the other lads.

"He has been voluntarily around the group and we are more than pleased to have him around. Whether it comes to anything more than that, who knows?"

It was the "who knows?" that left just a glimmer of hope for Flintoff fans.

Flintoff has not played competitive cricket since the Oval Test against Australia in 2009, when he famously bade farewell to international cricket by running out Ricky Ponting and has forged a TV career as a worldwide explorer and adventurer.

Soon after that his final game he had surgery on his left knee and he also needed shoulder reconstruction after winning a heavyweight boxing match in December 2012.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SoyQuearns on May 6, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    @JG2704 - Aus fans never shy away mate, but as in my original post it would be a foreign concept for the English fan to imagine the retirement of so many greats all so close together (as you have produced about 2 [KP & Botham] in the last 30+ years).

    So I get that you don't understand. It's not your fault, you just haven't been spoilt by the existence of tremendous cricketers (especially so many in such short time), and thus when you were in possession of such (in KP) you lot didn't know what to do with him.

    I actually believe cricket has come a long way since the 80's and 90's and thus these decade-long+ eras of dominance are a thing of the past. It's tougher at the top and also each of the top 4-5 test playing nations have better systems in place.

    That said - the County circuit is very weak again due to the incentives to use youth.

    But the era when we (Aus) lose frequently is over, we've rebuilt resources now, have better systems and a host of youth on the up-and-coming trail.

  • JG2704 on May 6, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Why not?

    Flintoff is a huge star over here. He sold out the 20000 MEN arena for a meaningless boxing match so it'll certainly help put bums on seats. He is an impact player so may even be able to do something at this level. No one's kidding anyone in thinking that he can do anything at a level above but regardless of anything else it will help create revenue for Lancs and interest in the competition. I'd have thought Lancs fans would be salivating at the prospect of seeing him and Jos in the same team

  • JG2704 on May 6, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    @SoyQueans - You're right. Order is totally restored , Australia are brilliant and when they're not it's because they are in transition/rebuilding ... blah blah blah. And we all know which fans will be first to go into hiding if this era orf dominance doesn't last so long...

  • SoyQuearns on May 6, 2014, 4:44 GMT

    #1 in Tests and ODI's - and yet @Jaffa79 implies we are living in the moment of our short-term successes.

    Face it, the tide has turned, and it will stay that way for years to come.

    I love how you try to lecture an Aus fan about long-term successes. How does 1989-2008 sound to you? One Ashes loss in there and utter dominance throughout.

    16 straight Test wins in a row twice within a decade.

    England will never achieve that as they are too defensive and mild in their tactics and disposition.

    But yeah, come back to these forums and lambast Australian fans for being gleeful about victory in the short when you can claim a nigh-on 2 decade utter dominance of the game in both formats and 2 x lots of 16 test wins in a row within a decade, and within the last 15 years or so.

    Absolutely hilarious. It's like you haven't checked the latest news.

    One word for you: Netherlands.

  • SoyQuearns on May 5, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    @Jaffa79 - and just finally - once again, hilarious that you hung your team of last year out to dry, implying they were weak. They weren't, they are just as good as any XI you've put out in the last 15 years.

    They are just weak. Now that Australia has gotten through our restructuring/redevelopment phase we'll be fine.

    Now it is a foreign concept to you as the English (at least anyone who didn't see Botham play), because the only true 'great' of the game you've produced in the last 20+ years is KP, and look how you hung him out to dry (too much charisma for your 'paint-dryingly-boring' ways) but try imagining the retirement of S Waugh, S Warne, G McGrath, D Martyn, J Langer, D Lehmann, A Symonds, M Hayden, A Gilchrist, S MacGill, J Gillespie, M Slater, R Ponting, M Hussey in a few short years.

    You haven't produced players like that for more than 4 decades (KP & Botham aside) so I can understand how you can be ignorant to why Aus fell in a bit of a heap for a couple of years.

  • RandyOZ on May 5, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    haha, the County system is so poor that even a very old flintoff can still make a starting XI

  • AKS286 on May 5, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    Sound good but not factual. Fans Flintoff career is over now, No doubt he is a great all-rounder. Kallis still playing and more fit than others but his career is 99 % over. vettori the fit amonst all is also faded. Sehwag the young amonst all and he is playing continueos domestic games has still 40% chance to come back. But Freddie exiting but not real NOW.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 5, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    @ dunger.bob (post on May 5, 2014, 12:50 GMT): Totally agree. Can't see any way back for Freddy, and (thankfully) Lancashire have played down the rumours. 2005 was Flintoff's moment, and everyone including himself should leave it there.

  • dunger.bob on May 5, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    "And there's Flintoff, hands raised to the heavens, standing in the middle of the pitch like a colossus" - Jim Maxwell, ABC Radio. I'm an Aussie, but that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up because that was Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes where he bowled like the wind and played like a god. .. Legendary stuff but let's leave it that way. A comeback now will somehow dilute that because it just can't work. I'm thinking Michael Jordan. In the end it was just sad and he deserved better, as does Freddy.

  • Presynaras on May 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @RodStark- T20 cricket isn't a slap-bang cricket anymore. You need to see the game more to realize how much it has changed. Anybody who wants to keep hitting will be skittled out. These English folks and their lack of T20 viewing makes them still see what T20 had been at its infancy.

  • SoyQuearns on May 6, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    @JG2704 - Aus fans never shy away mate, but as in my original post it would be a foreign concept for the English fan to imagine the retirement of so many greats all so close together (as you have produced about 2 [KP & Botham] in the last 30+ years).

    So I get that you don't understand. It's not your fault, you just haven't been spoilt by the existence of tremendous cricketers (especially so many in such short time), and thus when you were in possession of such (in KP) you lot didn't know what to do with him.

    I actually believe cricket has come a long way since the 80's and 90's and thus these decade-long+ eras of dominance are a thing of the past. It's tougher at the top and also each of the top 4-5 test playing nations have better systems in place.

    That said - the County circuit is very weak again due to the incentives to use youth.

    But the era when we (Aus) lose frequently is over, we've rebuilt resources now, have better systems and a host of youth on the up-and-coming trail.

  • JG2704 on May 6, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Why not?

    Flintoff is a huge star over here. He sold out the 20000 MEN arena for a meaningless boxing match so it'll certainly help put bums on seats. He is an impact player so may even be able to do something at this level. No one's kidding anyone in thinking that he can do anything at a level above but regardless of anything else it will help create revenue for Lancs and interest in the competition. I'd have thought Lancs fans would be salivating at the prospect of seeing him and Jos in the same team

  • JG2704 on May 6, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    @SoyQueans - You're right. Order is totally restored , Australia are brilliant and when they're not it's because they are in transition/rebuilding ... blah blah blah. And we all know which fans will be first to go into hiding if this era orf dominance doesn't last so long...

  • SoyQuearns on May 6, 2014, 4:44 GMT

    #1 in Tests and ODI's - and yet @Jaffa79 implies we are living in the moment of our short-term successes.

    Face it, the tide has turned, and it will stay that way for years to come.

    I love how you try to lecture an Aus fan about long-term successes. How does 1989-2008 sound to you? One Ashes loss in there and utter dominance throughout.

    16 straight Test wins in a row twice within a decade.

    England will never achieve that as they are too defensive and mild in their tactics and disposition.

    But yeah, come back to these forums and lambast Australian fans for being gleeful about victory in the short when you can claim a nigh-on 2 decade utter dominance of the game in both formats and 2 x lots of 16 test wins in a row within a decade, and within the last 15 years or so.

    Absolutely hilarious. It's like you haven't checked the latest news.

    One word for you: Netherlands.

  • SoyQuearns on May 5, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    @Jaffa79 - and just finally - once again, hilarious that you hung your team of last year out to dry, implying they were weak. They weren't, they are just as good as any XI you've put out in the last 15 years.

    They are just weak. Now that Australia has gotten through our restructuring/redevelopment phase we'll be fine.

    Now it is a foreign concept to you as the English (at least anyone who didn't see Botham play), because the only true 'great' of the game you've produced in the last 20+ years is KP, and look how you hung him out to dry (too much charisma for your 'paint-dryingly-boring' ways) but try imagining the retirement of S Waugh, S Warne, G McGrath, D Martyn, J Langer, D Lehmann, A Symonds, M Hayden, A Gilchrist, S MacGill, J Gillespie, M Slater, R Ponting, M Hussey in a few short years.

    You haven't produced players like that for more than 4 decades (KP & Botham aside) so I can understand how you can be ignorant to why Aus fell in a bit of a heap for a couple of years.

  • RandyOZ on May 5, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    haha, the County system is so poor that even a very old flintoff can still make a starting XI

  • AKS286 on May 5, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    Sound good but not factual. Fans Flintoff career is over now, No doubt he is a great all-rounder. Kallis still playing and more fit than others but his career is 99 % over. vettori the fit amonst all is also faded. Sehwag the young amonst all and he is playing continueos domestic games has still 40% chance to come back. But Freddie exiting but not real NOW.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 5, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    @ dunger.bob (post on May 5, 2014, 12:50 GMT): Totally agree. Can't see any way back for Freddy, and (thankfully) Lancashire have played down the rumours. 2005 was Flintoff's moment, and everyone including himself should leave it there.

  • dunger.bob on May 5, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    "And there's Flintoff, hands raised to the heavens, standing in the middle of the pitch like a colossus" - Jim Maxwell, ABC Radio. I'm an Aussie, but that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up because that was Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes where he bowled like the wind and played like a god. .. Legendary stuff but let's leave it that way. A comeback now will somehow dilute that because it just can't work. I'm thinking Michael Jordan. In the end it was just sad and he deserved better, as does Freddy.

  • Presynaras on May 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @RodStark- T20 cricket isn't a slap-bang cricket anymore. You need to see the game more to realize how much it has changed. Anybody who wants to keep hitting will be skittled out. These English folks and their lack of T20 viewing makes them still see what T20 had been at its infancy.

  • on May 5, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Looking forward seeing him playing competitive again. He is 36 and he can certainly play 3-4 years of at least T20 Cricket.

  • MMahmood1 on May 5, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    It will be pretty good to see his name in the playing Eleven.

    Freddie was one of the finest all-rounders, I have watched. Always ready to give his 200%. During his last test match he barely managed to walk and yet able to produce that wonderful last spell. The amount of pace and bounce he generated on Indian low and slow wickets was exceptional.

    Anxiously waiting to see him back in action. Best of luck

  • anver777 on May 5, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    If Flintoff is fit & ready, i think he should play only global T20 for few more years.... for T20 format his style of play is ideal & can be an instant "HIT" !!!!!

  • Nutcutlet on May 5, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Freddie must be drawn to t20 (as it has evolved and got disproportionately important) as a moth towards a flame. If (a very big IF) he can get himself match fit, then it would not be the most surprising thing to see him turn out for the Lightning - or anyone else who'd have him. He'd be box-office and that factor cannot be discounted, even if his comeback only lasted a single match. I echo landl47 and others: There's zero chance he'd be interested in the hard graft of proper cricket. But all publicity is good publicity, is it not?

  • StevieS on May 5, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    lesley95 yes what a team it would be Flintoff, Hussey, Pieterson and Sewag all in the same team! Maybe Ponting and Tendulkar could come out of retirement and join them. Who cares if they only score 50 runs off 120 balls, its all about image and marketing.

  • Jaffa79 on May 5, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    @ SoyQuearns. How typically Australian! Yep, big Freddie's numbers weren't great but he was a big match player who turned matches on their head and was feared by those who he played against. You ask Ponting, Pollock, Sachin, Inzamam, Fleming, Warnie or anyone else is Freddie wasn't a big game player? Pull your neck in pal. You guys deservedly won against a poor England team this last Aussie summer and hats off to you but you should only crow when you put years of success together. Let us not forget that you were flogged in India (we won) and were 15 minutes away from 4-0 in England! Enjoy your success as there haven't been too many opportunities to be cocky or obnoxious as you guys like to be, of late. I wouldn't be surprised if your team of old men all disappear and you turn into a shambles like you did after 2006-7.

  • Rafelgibt on May 5, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    It would be better for Flintoff to go for the Bangladesh Bowling coach post rather play those useless t20 matches.As a bowling coach it would be greater challenge for him to drive BAN team in the right path as they have short of good quality fast bowlers.And most important thing as a coach of BAN he would earn huge salary along with STAR value in Bangladesh as BAN is the only place where coaching staffs also get the star value ratings from the cricket crazy people.

  • lesley95 on May 5, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    IPL 8? Mumbai Indians surely need some firepower or would he go the Kevin's Delhi Dardevils. Any takers??

  • SamWintson92 on May 5, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    He's a really good all-rounder no doubt for me. Still they will be doubters always. Anyways that's part of life. I would love to see him playing T20 cricket. I remember injury forced him to retire from tests but he wanted to continue playing shorter formats & also as a freelancer. But it didn't turn out to his liking & he had to quit cricket all-together. If he's contemplating a return then he's definitely healed from the injury blows. By the way, he took a 5 for in his last ODI !

  • CricketingStargazer on May 5, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    It must have been a slow news day. One paper carried this story. He hasn't even turned out for his club side and someone adds two and two and makes five.

  • SirBobJones on May 5, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    I don't mean any disrespect to Freddie, Lancashire, England, etc., but I must say I always found him somewhat over-rated. That being said, there are over-rated players from all countries. Glenn Maxwell I always thought was another one, says I as I stuff another serving of humble pie down my gullett while reviewing recent IPL scorecards. In my defense though, does he seriously deserve the accolade of opening the batting and bowling for Australia in test cricket for the first time in however many years?! Sorry, I digress.

  • SoyQuearns on May 5, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Oh boy - one of the most overrated Test all-rounders can come back now that he is well past his prime (which amounted to be about 1/2 of IT Botham and 1/4 of JH Kallis) and play in a weak domestic t20 comp.

    That's just what English cricket (in its steep and hilarious and obvious and immediate decline after its 10 minutes near the top) needs right now.

    Freddie wouldn't have even made the Australian team that existed during his playing days. Not as a batsman (32 average = lol) or bowler (33 average = lol) nor as an all-rounder (Symonds all over him), and yet he's an English great.

    That's why it is hilarious for you to have all patted yourselves on the back for your 5 years of Ashes ownership. Being from a cricketing nation that knows proper success (2 x 16 test wins in a row in recent history, 20+ years of dominance) we knew the tide would turn, and turn it has.

  • ramz_01 on May 5, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    if he come back he will punch bowlers wit force

  • RodStark on May 5, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Why not? Twenty-tywenty is just a slap-bang exhibition game anyway, so let's have the big name players play anyway howver good they are.

  • landl47 on May 5, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    Well, if he does return, it looks as though it will be in T20. There's no indication that he's interested in playing real cricket.

  • on May 5, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    If he does return, which I always personally hoped he would, he would have to return as a batter rather than a bowler now I think and only at T20 level but as you say he would have to take it carefully. And as for him being lost without cricket, that's the same with any sports man and the sport they love really

  • on May 4, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    go for it it would be fantastic plenty would jump at the chance to see the legend

  • on May 4, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    It will do no harm to cricket if he will return.. It will be difficult bt he can state a comeback least in t20 as it doesn't take much stamina... Ultimately the fans will able to see again the FREDDIE-THE LEGEND..... I m curiously waiting for his conformation....

  • on May 4, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    The most over rated and unprofessional player in history. He played 3 good Tests in 2005 and that was it pretty much. He was intoxicated in public, made an embarrassment of himself on a Pedlo, and was a joke as England captain. Yet KP gets the sack! A one hit wonder, 5 100s in 75 Tests, 3 5w hauls, yes clearly an all rounder in Botham, Kallis, class!

  • on May 4, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    Id love to see him back playing for Lancs

  • real_gone_gadd on May 4, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    You get the feeling that Flintoff is something of a lost soul without cricket ... you feel he really doesn't know what to do with himself.

  • on May 4, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    Over-rated, yes, but still pretty bloody good and I always liked him as a player. This, however, would be a terrible decision by him and all concerned. He's very obviously not going to be half the cricketer he was if he returned, and if he has a bowl it could do serious damage to his body which will haunt him into old age.

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  • on May 4, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    Over-rated, yes, but still pretty bloody good and I always liked him as a player. This, however, would be a terrible decision by him and all concerned. He's very obviously not going to be half the cricketer he was if he returned, and if he has a bowl it could do serious damage to his body which will haunt him into old age.

  • real_gone_gadd on May 4, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    You get the feeling that Flintoff is something of a lost soul without cricket ... you feel he really doesn't know what to do with himself.

  • on May 4, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    Id love to see him back playing for Lancs

  • on May 4, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    The most over rated and unprofessional player in history. He played 3 good Tests in 2005 and that was it pretty much. He was intoxicated in public, made an embarrassment of himself on a Pedlo, and was a joke as England captain. Yet KP gets the sack! A one hit wonder, 5 100s in 75 Tests, 3 5w hauls, yes clearly an all rounder in Botham, Kallis, class!

  • on May 4, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    It will do no harm to cricket if he will return.. It will be difficult bt he can state a comeback least in t20 as it doesn't take much stamina... Ultimately the fans will able to see again the FREDDIE-THE LEGEND..... I m curiously waiting for his conformation....

  • on May 4, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    go for it it would be fantastic plenty would jump at the chance to see the legend

  • on May 5, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    If he does return, which I always personally hoped he would, he would have to return as a batter rather than a bowler now I think and only at T20 level but as you say he would have to take it carefully. And as for him being lost without cricket, that's the same with any sports man and the sport they love really

  • landl47 on May 5, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    Well, if he does return, it looks as though it will be in T20. There's no indication that he's interested in playing real cricket.

  • RodStark on May 5, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Why not? Twenty-tywenty is just a slap-bang exhibition game anyway, so let's have the big name players play anyway howver good they are.

  • ramz_01 on May 5, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    if he come back he will punch bowlers wit force