NatWest t20 Blast 2014 May 30, 2014

Flintoff returns for Lancashire in T20s

ESPNcricinfo staff

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."

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  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 1:44 GMT

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

  • Steve 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.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2014, 19:29 GMT

    Another Zaheer Khan, off again on again.

  • sasibhushan 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.....

  • Android on May 30, 2014, 16:29 GMT

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

  • Vikram 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.

  • Jem 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!

  • dan 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

  • Dummy4 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

  • Hardik 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 !!

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