How the cricket world has rallied behind Freddie Flintoff

Freddie Flintoff: How Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad and the cricket world have rallied behind the Ashes hero after he joined the England team as mentor following his near-fatal car crash on Top Gear last year

  • Freddie Flintoff suffered a near-fatal car crash while filming Top Gear
  • The great all-rounder has joined England’s ODI team as a consultant
  • Flintoff made his first public appearance since the crash last week 

The cricketing world has rallied behind Freddie Flintoff since he made his first public appearance last week following a near-fatal car crash he suffered while filming the BBC’s Top Gear show in December 2022.

The 45-year-old returned to working with the England cricket team over the weekend with cuts noticeable on his nose and mouth, but his facial injuries appear to have improved in pictures released on Wednesday.

Flintoff joined Jos Buttler’s side as a consultant for their ODI series against New Zealand and has been overseeing training and warm-up sessions.

Wearing a baseball mitt to act as a makeshift wicketkeeper, the Lancastrian cut a relaxed figure as he chatted with the players ahead of the third ODI against the Kiwis at The Oval, which England won at a canter. 

Flintoff was left with severe facial wounds and several broken ribs after his crash at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey at the end of last year last year.

Andrew Flintoff suffered gruesome facial injuries in a near-fatal crash while filming the BBC’s motoring show Top Gear in December last year 

Flintoff returned to the England set up as an advisor to the ODI team last week

He oversaw a warm-up session before England’s third ODI against New Zealand on Wednesday

The crash happened as his three-wheeled open-top car, which did not have air bags, flipped while filming the hit BBC motoring show on December 13. 

Flintoff then had to wait an ‘agonising’ 45 minutes for an air ambulance – with the BBC later giving him an apology.

The father-of-four, who also narrowly cheated death following a 125mph crash in 2019, quit his Top Gear job after the accident and the BBC cancelled the latest series of the show – with its future remaining in doubt. 

One of the great all-rounders of the English game and the hero of the 2005 Ashes triumph, Flintoff played 141 ODIs before retiring after England won the urn in 2009.

And he has received plenty of support since his return to cricket, with former teammates and current players both praising his impact and expressing their relief at seeing him on the mend.

Here, Mail Sport rounds up how the cricketing world has reacted to Flintoff’s return.

Jos Buttler

England’s white-ball captain spoke glowingly of Flintoff as the former all-rounder made his first public appearance last week. 

‘He’s obviously an England legend and it’s just nice to have him around the group,’ Buttler said. 

‘He’s not been brought in with any specific role, just to be around and observe. A few of the lads can pick his brains a little bit and he’s settled in really well. 

‘It’s great to have him with us. Just for this series.’

Jos Buttler (right) spoke glowingly of Flintoff (left) as the former all-rounder made his first public appearance last week

Liam Livingstone

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The England batter described Flintoff as ‘a national hero’ and revealed the players did not need a second chance to ask the 45-year-old for advice. 

‘It’s incredible to have someone of his experience with us,’ the Lancashire all-rounder said after the first ODI.

‘It’s been great for the lads to have him here now. 

‘We’ve all been talking to him, especially when we were batting. You’ve got three and a half hours to pick the brains of someone who’s been there and done it.

‘He’s a national hero so everybody loves that Fred’s going to be with us for the whole of this series and I’m sure he will enjoy himself as well.’

Paul Collingwood

Flintoff is ‘pinching himself’ to be involved with the England team again, according to his 2005 Ashes-winning team-mate Paul Collingwood.

‘It’s important for him, and it’s great for the lads to have him around,’ said England’s assistant Test coach. 

‘The knowledge he’s got playing the game and pressure situations – he pretty much encapsulated how this white-ball team goes about their cricket. 

‘It’s all about putting the opposition under pressure, which is exactly what he did.

‘He’s got to pinch himself at times. It’s like: “I’m working with these guys that I’ve been watching on TV!” For someone like that to say that is really humbling.

‘He went more down the entertainment route and been very successful with it as well. 

‘But he’s at a time in his life where this is what he wants to do, and the best thing for him mentally is to be in and around the team. 

‘I think he’s really enjoyed it.’ 

Kevin Pietersen

Another of the stars of the 2005 Ashes series, Pietersen welcomed back his former teammate with a succinct social media message reading ‘Freddie back!’ followed by several heart emojis. 

David Lloyd

Mail Sport‘s David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd also turned to social media to welcome his fellow Lancastrian back to cricket. 

‘Really, really pleased! Great to have him back in the game,’ he wrote.

Stuart Broad

Broad echoed the feelings of his former teammates, suggesting England’s ODI players would relish the opportunity to work alongside Flintoff, whom he described as a legend of the game.

‘I saw him in Cardiff and had 10 minutes with him and he was in really fine form,’ the former England seamer said on Sky Sports ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand.

‘When you look at the players who are in this white ball side, Freddie Flintoff would have inspired them back in 2005 and before. 

‘He’s an icon of English cricket, he’s a legend of the game. So just to be able to spend some time around him, to pick his brain, and feel the aura that he has within the group. 

Stuart Broad (middle) found Flintoff (left) to be in ‘fine form’ as he spoke to him last week

Steve Harmison

Steve Harmison admitted it was ‘tough’ to see his former teammate’s brutal facial injuries and revealed Flintoff still covered up his face less than two months ago.

And Harmison, who was also part of the 2005 Ashes-winning squad, believes Flintoff’s presence around the ODI team can only be a good thing.

‘It’s been tough, you’ve seen the pictures of him with a smile on his face but I saw him about six weeks ago when my son Charlie and his son, Rocky played against each other and it was great to see him,’ he told talkSPORT.

Steve Harmison (left) – who played with Flintoff (right) for seven years – revealed his former teammate still covered up his face less than two months ago

‘I got to see him then but at that time he covered his face up when he walked around. […] 

‘He was in great form, but to see him around the England group, the main team, was fantastic. 

‘This England team are a good bunch and not only are they great cricketers, but they’re great ambassadors.

‘Freddie was always brilliant in the dressing room and so to have Andrew in the dressing room with them and feeling comfortable and letting him get his feet under the table because they’ll be in for a show.’

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