Andrew Flintoff to make a Twenty-20 comeback for Lancashire; MCC hopes dashed
After much speculation, it’s final. Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is back!
The 36-year-old champion England all-rounder will make his return to cricket for his former club Lancashire in the ongoing Natwest T20 Blast.
"I feel young; I behave like I'm young," he told BBC Radio 5 live Sport.
"It's the easiest decision I've made in my career. Lancs think I can do it; I think I can do it. I can't guarantee performance but I'm going to have a go at this. I've got to prove myself."
The former Ashes hero has played 79 Test matches and 141 ODIs for England before a series of injuries forced his retirement in his early 30s after a victorious Ashes 2009 campaign. He even made his boxing debut in 2012.
Flintoff mentioned that missing out on the bicentenary team to play alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara made him to think of some other way to play some matches to prove his kids that he can play too.
"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. 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 10 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," revealed Flintoff about his thoughts behind his return.
"I'm playing for the reasons that I first started playing cricket, because I love the game and I enjoy it. When I'm in the nets I'm stood in there with a bat in my hand just grinning. 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 admitted.
Flintoff also pointed out at fellow cricketers who are still competing in top level cricket well above his age. He also expressed his opinion to play for more than just one season.
"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.
“I'm really honoured to be part of Lancashire once again. 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.”
Lancashire are scheduled to play tonight at Old Trafford. The match will be televised and the former England star’s presence might also draw more crowds to the fixture.
“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,” Flintoff said.
Lancashire Cricket Director Mike Watkinson 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 Emirates 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.”
In T20 cricket for Lancashire, Flintoff averages 29.64 with the bat and 13.94 with the ball with a highest score of 93 made against Derbyshire in 2009.