County news May 13, 2014

Flintoff comeback plans quicken

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Andrew Flintoff's plans for a remarkable comeback nearly five years after his career seemed over because of injury are moving closer with his secret talks with Lancashire now reported by insiders at the county to be at an "advanced stage".

Flintoff's attempted return would give England's relaunched NatWest Blast tournament a dash of celebrity but both Lancashire and the player himself are determined he will only return if they both feel he can meet cricketing demands.

Flintoff is not only contemplating returning on the field for Lancashire, he has also been offered the opportunity to take on an as yet undefined coaching role during the tournament.

Prospects of him playing in the opening game against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Friday night or for Lancashire's first home game against Worcestershire Rapids at Old Trafford 24 hours later seem to have been scuppered by an ankle injury picked up in fielding practice.

Flintoff responded tartly on Twitter earlier this week to Notts' suggestions that he might play at Trent Bridge and suggested they should use the quality of their own players to sell tickets.

The injury has also so far prevented him turning out in one of several Lancashire's 2nd XI T20 fixtures this week - the latest of which is scheduled for Ormskirk today - and he will have to play in at least one such game to confirm that his fitness is robust enough for 1st team cricket.

Flintoff's big-hitting capability is ideally designed for T20 cricket and his enthusiasm for one last heave has been apparent in net sessions. If he does take the field, it would be a huge surprise if he also had a stint with the ball.

But both Lancashire and the player are keenly aware of the risks he would take with such a comeback and are determined that it will not be regarded as a charade.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on May 15, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    wonderful news for england.... england should consider him for 2015 world cup,,

  • CricketChat on May 14, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Hopefully, Flintoff will manage a respectable time before he hangs his boot for good and not burn all the goodwill he earned during those famous Ashes wins!

  • geoffboyc on May 14, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    In addition to all the other suggestions about why the Flintoff return might happen, the Lancs cricket committee are probably hoping it will divert attention from their role in the current team's plight. No emerging batsmen coming through (thanks Mr Moores) and no replacement for the influential Katich as overseas player. Also a bowling attack no better than before and with a one-year older Glen Chapple also burdened by coaching duties; as if bowling about 40 plus overs every game wasn't enough for a 40 year old. Things are not looking rosy or even competent on this side of the Pennines. Still, in spite of the dubious multi-million ground development there won't be all the hassle of preparing for a Test Match against the Aussies next season.

  • disco_bob on May 14, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    It's England's way of announcing their depth of talent.

  • rajuramki on May 14, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    It is absolutely crazy on the part of Flintoff to try and make a come back . It is even more crazy on the part of Lancashire to entertain the idea of bringing back Flintoff . Even during his playing days,he was not very fit and expecting him to last a season after a 5 years gap is asking for too much . Such come backs can never be successful and Flintoff will only cut a sorry figure.

  • android_user on May 14, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    hey espncrick admin pls install an icon where we can click on liked comments. ...too good opinions ya..

  • landl47 on May 14, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    Totally crazy. Why, he's almost (but not quite) as old as Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin!

  • xylo on May 13, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    he might make a good mentor to Mumbai Indians. ;-)

  • AshesErnie on May 13, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Lancs should get Flat Jack Simmons back, he'd be ideal for T20 and he's not been retired 25 years yet. Clive Lloyd might be at a loose end on Fridays too, and he can't have lost the magic of the 1975 World Cup Final yet.

  • Coastaltown on May 13, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    Blimey, I live in Ormskirk, might head off to the ground now then.

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