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Andrew Flintoff named as new host of BBC's Top Gear

Andrew Flintoff behind the wheel of a Formula E car Getty Images

Andrew Flintoff has been handed arguably the most prestigious role of his post-cricket career, after being unveiled as one of the new hosts of the BBC's long-running car show, Top Gear.

Flintoff, who retired from cricket in 2009, was named on Monday morning alongside Paddy McGuinness, the host of the ITV dating show Take Me Out. He will replace the outgoing Matt LeBlanc when filming for the 27th series of the show gets underway in the coming months.

"It's not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I'm now lucky enough to say I will have," said Flintoff. "I've always been passionate about cars and I'm so excited to be joining the Top Gear team."

Flintoff, who retired from Test cricket in 2009, has forged a successful media career in recent years, including a regular team captain role on the Sky panel show A League of Their Own, and a BBC Five Live podcast, Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy.

His specialist knowledge of vehicles hasn't had quite the same airing. He hit the headlines earlier this year after discovering his 6ft4in frame was too large to fit into a new Lamborghini for which he had just forked out GBP100,000.

And in 2014, he successfully pleaded "exceptional hardship" in overturning a driving ban for speeding, arguing that it would affect those who rely on his "extensive charity work", as well as the privacy of his three children.

The vehicle with which he is most synonymous, however, is arguably the pedalo that he capsized in St Lucia during the 2007 World Cup, a fact that will no doubt be a recurring theme of a show that has long revolved around the interplay between its hosts.

Top Gear's original trio of hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, departed the show en masse in 2015, with Chris Evans signed to front the show alongside LeBlanc before departing after one series.

Flintoff and McGunness reportedly impressed BBC bosses with their "infectious" chemistry during secret auditions at a test track near London.

Patrick Holland, the controller of BBC Two, said: "This is a thrilling manoeuvre from the Top Gear team and I'm relishing what this trio will deliver. Both Paddy and Freddie love their cars but, more than that, they'll bring a new energy and competitive spirit to Top Gear."