NatWest t20 Blast 2014

Flintoff returns for Lancashire in T20s

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 30, 2014

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Flintoff was back in the nets at Old Trafford, Manchester, May 30, 2014
Andrew Flintoff makes a return to competitive cricket after five years © PA Photos

Andrew Flintoff, the former England allrounder and captain, has come out of retirement to play for Lancashire in the Natwest T20 Blast, the county has confirmed.

Flintoff had signed off his England career following their Ashes win in 2009 and it was also his last domestic season, though he officially announced his retirement from all forms of the game only the following year.

Flintoff, 36, had recently been training with his native county but an ankle injury had scuppered his plans of making a return earlier this month. No exact date has been put on Flintoff's first-team return although the Roses match against Yorkshire on June 6 is shaping as a possible comeback. He is likely to appear for his first club, St Annes, on Saturday.

"I'm really honoured to be part of Lancashire once again," Flintoff told the county's official website. "It is something that I never thought would happen but after training with the squad over the last few months I am really happy that they have invited me to play. I have worked really hard to get back to my fittest and I hope that we have a successful summer. I'm just glad that I can be part of it."

Lancashire cricket director Mike Watkinson said the club was happy to welcome him back. "We are delighted to have Fred involved once again at the club. He is Lancashire through and through and his record for both club and country speaks for itself," Watkinson said.

"Fred has been back at Old Trafford under his own steam since the winter and has been working with the Academy and in the nets with some of the other players. Over a period of time he has picked up on his physical conditioning and this continues to improve. He has shown in practice that he still has plenty of class with bat and ball, and will be a great addition to the NatWest T20 Blast squad."

Flintoff said he had hopes of playing alongside Sachin Tendulkar for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against a Shane Warne-led Rest of the World in an exhibition match to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord's on July 5. When he was not picked, Flintoff started looking at other ways of making a comeback.

"John Stephenson from the MCC phoned me up and I thought the call was to tell me where to turn up and who was in the side," Flintoff told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The kids were in the car and he told me they didn't want me. He said they've got Brian Lara and all these other people.

"I thought, 'they're all ten years older than me and they've not played for years'. I saw my kids' faces and that's the first time they'd seen their dad told he can't do something. They said, 'never mind, there will be other games'. And I thought, 'There will be actually.'

"It was getting knocked back and wanting to play, practising and realising 'I can still do this', and there was unfinished business when I retired. I'd sooner try and have it not come off than sit at home for the rest of my days thinking, 'I should have tried this, I should have had a go.' I don't live like that."

Flintoff said players like Brad Hogg have shown that age is not a deterrent to succeeding in T20s. "When I'm bowling it still hurts a bit, but I'm loving running into bowl and if I can take that into a game I might be quite dangerous.

"I don't want it to be one year. You see Brad Hogg playing in the Big Bash, Brad Hodge is playing for Australia at 39, Glen Chapple's 40 and still charging in in four-dayers."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2014, 1:44 GMT)

Good luck! Nice that you can make a return. Do it for the kids!

Posted by CricketChat on (May 31, 2014, 1:43 GMT)

Always great to see sports legends challenge themselves even after retirement. I hope Flintoff doesn't make a fool of himself and hurt his legacy with this venture. As I recall his retirement period, he had become injury prone. He must have worked hard on fitness or else wouldn't have contemplated any sort of comeback. All the same, I wish him nothing but the best.

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 19:29 GMT)

Another Zaheer Khan, off again on again.

Posted by BhushanPheonix on (May 30, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

Its great news for Lancashire.. that freddy is back... I hope and wish he comes back to the english squad as well.....

Posted by android_user on (May 30, 2014, 16:29 GMT)

good to c one of d great all rounder in world cricket. all d best Flintoff

Posted by xylo on (May 30, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

Good to see the comeback. Now to sit back and relax and enjoy the entertainment as this unfolds spectacularly.

Posted by FreddyForPrimeMinister on (May 30, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

Time will tell whether Fred's core skills are up to the task but maturity may yet be the making of him as a T20 player, as he knows he can't treat it as he possibly did before as a hit and a giggle. For all those calling it a cheap publicity stunt, I'd point out Freddy's most telling comment that he's doing it because he doesn't want to live the rest of his life thinking "I should have tried this." The importance of living your life with no regrets can't be underestimated. Whatever else, Fred will give this 110% - and 110% of Freddy Flintoff amounts to an awful lot!! Best of luck, Andrew - can't wait to see you back!

Posted by flickspin on (May 30, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

ive watched cricket since the 1990's and flintoff is the best english player ive seen

the best english players ive seen are 1 a flintoff, 2 d gough, 3 k pietersen, 4 g swann 5 g thorpe, 6 a cook,7 a stewert, 8 m vaughn

he will still be a stand out despite not playing for years

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

Seriously Man.... he will be back... That is one awesome thing, He can even play at The IPL and i bet franchises would love to sign him...A heck of a man to be in action

Posted by hardyrocks14 on (May 30, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

good to see Freddie make a come back...if he does well again and stays fit, some franchises in IPL would surely keep an eye now !!

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

Wow, all off the sudden, the IPL seems nothing to me. I want to watch the Natwest T20 Blast. :D I'm not too sure its a risk that's going to come off. But really hats off to freddie for not giving up at this age! :D

Posted by CricStaah on (May 30, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

I really hop he does well He retired way to early for my liking and i think that injuries aside he had a lot of yards left if those big old Jackamo legs! a class act - i really hope it pays off.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (May 30, 2014, 11:05 GMT)

It is good news. If he played next Ashes it might only be a 4-0 win to Australia lol! Seriously though, a great cricketer and I say why not have a go at 20/20 he's made for it and the fans will love it.

Posted by DwarkaLoya on (May 30, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

Superb boss!!! welcome for comeback and good wishes for internatioanl cricket. You are the one of the best allrouner in the world

Posted by Nutcutlet on (May 30, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Inevitable. From the first time Freddie's interest was reported, it was going to happen. T20 is overwhemingly populist - and it fulfils its primary aim with the inclusion of household names. If Ramps were to announce the same intention, then there would be a bumper gate to see how he went as well. Let's see how he goes. He could get a taste for it!

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

Pick him for England immediately. 5 years out of the game and broken down he's still the only chance you have of getting the ashes back.

Posted by Saif_Khan90 on (May 30, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

superkingdav. Freddie bowling in tandem with Junaid would be awesome. Great publicity for the tournament anyway.

Posted by superkingdav on (May 30, 2014, 9:32 GMT)

I thought he was just going to be batting, but if he is bowling again that is better news, our T20 Pace bowling, and at the death in particular is rubbish, Junaid aside, I would rather have a knackered old Flintoff than Kabir - look at last night, nearly managed to lose a game Junaid had won.

Of course with our usual selection policy we will probably leave out Jordan Clark, who has been doing well so far, for Flintoff. Our position at the top of the tables is pretty misleading, our 3 wins have been against some of the lesser T20 games and we didn't get close against Notts. Tonight and next Friday will give a better idea of where we are at.

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

Hope he makes a dream comeback into the England National Team(The best English cricket and best allrounder of all times),,Good luck!!!

Posted by Georgerarnold on (May 30, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

It'll be great to see him again. Just hope his body can last.

Posted by geoffboyc on (May 30, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

As a regular at Old Trafford (though not for T20) I'm a bit dubious about this, but IF Flintoff can show he can perform better than someone currently in the squad then he's as much right to be there as anyone else. The squad isn't actually bursting with "young" players who are guaranteed a game anyway and they might ultimately benefit from Flintoff's presence. The real mistake would be if he were included either on sentiment alone or for crowd boosting reasons. That wouldn't show him or Lancs in a very good light and could impact on team performances.

Posted by Tigg on (May 30, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

This is probably a mistake. He'll not have the pace he used to and I can see his bowling getting taken apart by some 21 year old nobody. I give this 3 matches before the increased gate takings no longer outweigh Lancs having to carry a player.

Posted by anver777 on (May 30, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

Superb news to cricketing world !!! surely his comeback will add some extra spice to T20 cricket.... Good luck for your 2nd innings !!!!

Posted by Saif_Khan90 on (May 30, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Welcome back mate. No harm in trying and seeing how you go. Personally, I always found some of the English players bit boring; little personality, conservative and almost text-book like approach to Cricket. But Freddie always had flair and that's why, it was always good to watch him play. Good luck

Posted by MartinC on (May 30, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

As a Lancs fan I wish him well on this comeback. It should put a couple of thousand on the gate as well ....which is probably the main objective from Lancs point of view.

Posted by Boothy20 on (May 30, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

I do hope Freddie comes off with both bat and ball, but with Lancs having just reached the top of their t20 group with 3 wins in a row, it strikes me as a step backwards and unnecessary.

It could just as much backfire on the club by breaking the momentum that the boys have achieved after a poor start in the County Championship.

Maybe we should sign his agent, Neil Fairbrother. He was a good'un to.

Posted by VernonRowe on (May 30, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

As a Lancashire supporter, I am dismayed by this. Lancs have just gone top of the T20 table, yet some young player will be dropped to make way for this has-been. It is hard not to see this as an attempt by Flintoff's management to keep him in the limelight while the county cynically welcome the punters who will be prepared to buy tickets on the strength of what he used to be. Five years out of the game, persistent injuries. Maybe he will be a huge success. But somehow, I doubt it.

Posted by LancsRedRose on (May 30, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

Welcome back, Fred! Hope it's a successful return - should certainly add a bit of "star" appeal to the T20.

Posted by Z.Saleem on (May 30, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

Freddie you will make your kids proud - that's the Spirit mate, Welcome back!

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

it will be really great if he makes a comeback in england colors not only in county level. he is still perform-able if ALLAH WISH who knows he can be next ashes hero for england.

Posted by CricketMaan on (May 30, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

Pre-cursor for CPL, BBL and IPL 8? can't blame him. He too has a family to take care off. and he does indeed play the whole season he is a defenite in most frachises. Vijay Mallya, Daredevils, KKR and MI must be getting ready!!

Posted by Narkovian on (May 30, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

I'm told Sir Geoffrey Boycott is to be invited to open for ENG in the 1st Test... Oh dear !... FF will probably prove me wrong and score 50 and take 5 wkts. More likely it will be a bit embarrassing. What does it tell you about the young players in the team, one of whom won't be playing ? It ain't right.

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

Waiting for those big sixes.. Welcome back Freddie..

Posted by Maliduke on (May 30, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

Grt to have him back to action, Go Ferdy Go

Posted by   on (May 30, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

it will be good for cricket fans.....flintoff no doubt one of the greatest all-rounder of the game <3

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