Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has come out of retirement and will represent Lancashire in the ongoing Natwest T20 Blast, the county have confirmed.
Flintoff quit playing international and domestic cricket in 2009, even though he officially announced his retirement from all forms of the game in 2010.
There has been no announcement on when Flintoff will make his return for Lancashire as he recently hurt his ankle during a training session.
“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 director of cricket Mike Watkinson was thrilled to welcome Flintoff back, and said: “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.
“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 also admitted that he was gutted when he wasn’t picked to play for MCC in the exhibition match to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord’s on July 5.
“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 added that players like Australia spinner Brad Hogg have proven that age does not have to be a barrier to succeeding in Twenty20 cricket.
“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,” he said. “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.”