- Andrew Flintoff has made a quiet reintroduction to cricket over the summer
- He took his biggest step yet on his return within England’s senior dressing room
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff was seen on Friday for the first time since he suffered a horror crash that almost killed him nine months ago and left him with severe facial injuries and several broken ribs.
The near-fatal 130mph crash on BBC’s Top Gear saw Flintoff’s three-wheeled open-top car, which did not have air bags, flip over on December 13.
Former international cricketer Flintoff, 45, then had to wait an ‘agonising’ 45 minutes for an air ambulance – with the BBC later giving him an apology.
The serious accident saw Flintoff quit Top Gear and several members of staff who witnessed it signed off sick indefinitely as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.
After not being seeing since the shocking crash, Flintoff has been making a quiet re-introduction to cricket this summer, working with the England team.
Though he appeared in good spirits as he coached the players on Friday, he still bore the scars of his brush with death last December.
In the aftermath, his wife Rachael reportedly begged him to stay off work – perhaps influencing his decision to return to the relatively gentle world of cricket, as opposed to the increasingly daring lifestyle he lived before his crash.
Flintoff’s injuries were still visible nine months on from the crash which left him with broken ribs and facial bones
Flintoff made his return to England cricket after joining the coaching staff as a mentor
Onlookers say he may be seeking to explore coaching and mentoring opportunities in the game that made his name
The serious accident saw Flintoff quit Top Gear and several members of staff who witnessed it sign off sick indefinitely as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder
Flintoff pictured in 2017 as the host of ITV game show Cannonball which featured a water-based obstacle course on Malta
The father-of-four was ‘lucky to be alive’ when his open-topped three-wheel 130mph Morgan Super 3 flipped over in freezing conditions, according to his son.
Filming on the series was suspended while Flintoff recovered from his injuries and investigations took place, with reports the former professional cricketer was putting his TV career on hold.
An insider told The Times in March: ‘Freddie has been seriously emotionally and physically affected by the crash. He is a daredevil, that’s what he does, and he doesn’t feel like he is able to continue to play that role on the show.’
Reports said Flintoff had decided to leave the programme before the BBC confirmed in March it was halting filming of the following series, which had been set for release in the autumn.
The Mail on Sunday reported the high-speed accident and horrific injuries of the former England cricket star had a ‘significant effect’ on witnesses, preventing them from returning to work.
Sources say that there were many staff present at last December’s smash at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Park aerodrome in Surrey.
One said: ‘The scenes were awful, something you would truly want to unsee. The idea of returning to do that kind of work again for some people is just too much.
‘It has been a terribly hard time for everyone involved in the crash. Some are still struggling with it so have been signed off work.’
Flintoff has yet to take any legal action, but it isn’t known if any of the production team have.
After the crash his wife Rachael reportedly begged him to stay away from work while he recovers, with an insider telling The Sun he would be ‘putting his career on hold until he is in a better place mentally and physically’.
They added: ‘As a loving husband and dad he understands the fear his family feel about what’s happened, knowing that he could have been killed. He is determined to resume his TV work at some point though.
‘That’s why this decision will be a painful one for Freddie, but he knows that, for now at least, there are more important things in life.’
After the incident his 16-year-old son Corey told MailOnline: ‘He’s OK. I’m not too sure what happened but he is lucky to be alive.
‘It was a pretty nasty crash. It is shocking. We are all shocked but just hope he’s going to be OK.’
Yesterday, his facial injuries were still visible as he sat next to Ben Stokes and Joe Root on the balcony during the 1st Metro Bank One Day International between England and New Zealand at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
At the encouragement of his great friend and England managing director Rob Key, Flintoff has spent time with the England Under 19s side and took the biggest step yet today within the senior dressing room in Cardiff.
It is uncertain whether Flintoff will resume his television career after the accident which left him badly injured and caused him to spend five weeks in hospital.
Flintoff (pictured right, sitting next to Ben Stokes, centre) was inside the senior dressing room for the first ODI international against New Zealand
The star, who stopped to speak to people, has been making a quiet re-introduction to cricket this summer, working with the England team
Road smash: Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s horror crash sports car was not fitted with air bags, it has emerged
One of the great all-rounders, Flintoff was an iconic symbol of the 2005 Ashes-winning side
The ex-international cricketer showed off his throwing skills (left) and sipped a coffee (right) while watching the game
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff (pictured) was seriously injured in a crash while filming the latest series of Top Gear
On Friday, Flintoff appeared in good spirits as he spent time with the England U19s team in Wales
Flintoff looked animated as he watched from the stands during the first one day international match at Sophia Gardens
Flintoff chats to a coach ahead of the England versus New Zealand match
Flintoff practices a few cricket moves on the pitch while working with the England team during the 1st Metro Bank One Day International
But it now looks certain that he will instead explore coaching and mentoring opportunities in the game that made his name.
Flintoff is one of the great all-rounders of the English game and was an iconic symbol of the famous side that won the Ashes in 2005.
In all he played in 79 Tests and 141 one-day internationals before retiring after England won the 2009 Ashes.
He made something of a comeback in T20 cricket in 2015 but was seemingly disillusioned with the game when he launched what had become a highly successful television career that culminated with the hugely successful Top Gear programme.
The BBC said it would continue to support Flintoff ‘with his recovery’, adding: ‘Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time.
‘We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgment about how best to continue later this year.
‘This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support.
‘Finally there will be a health and safety review of the show, in line with our procedures.’
Flintoff, who won the Ashes with England as a cricket player before into TV presenting, had been driving a classic-look £43,000 British handmade vehicle –which is described as a ‘motorised tricycle’ and does not have air bags, according to maker Morgan’s website.
In May, it was revealed several members of the Top Gear production crew who witnessed Flintoff’s terrifying car crash had been signed off sick indefinitely with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Top Gear staff were reported to be suffering from PTSD after watching the horrifying car crash
Staff watched in horror as the 45-year-old crashed an open-topped three-wheel 130mph Morgan Super 3 car
The TV host, pictured here with co-presenters Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness, had been filming the latest series of the show, which was due to be aired this autumn
Flintoff’s family (pictured with his wife Rachael and three of their four children) reportedly begged him to stay away from the set while he was recovering from his injuries
The TV presenter, pictured here on a motorised trike during filming for a previous series of the show, is said to be ‘determined’ to return to screens at some point
The smash came three years after the ex-cricketer narrowly cheated death following a 125mph crash.
In 2019, Flintoff was heard fearfully yelling ‘I can’t stop,’ as he hurtled head-first down a runway just inches off the ground in a three-wheeled cycle car.
He had been racing his co-hosts when he realised he was running out of road and about to overshoot the finish line – seeing him spin off in a cloud of dust.
Flintoff walked away from the ‘near-death’ crash unscathed, insisting he was ‘absolutely fine’.
He said at the time: ‘I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but, on this occasion, I went a few lengths too far. It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.’
Flintoff, who began presenting Top Gear in 2019, has also made regular appearances on A League Of Their Own and won the first series of the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
But he remains best remembered for his time as a tubthumping all-rounder, most notably during the Ashes victory in 2005.
The former England captain finished with 79 Test caps and 148 limited-overs internationals.
Now, Flintoff could become a more regular figure again within cricket and is so enthusiastic about his new role that he is believed not to have sought any payment.
England white-ball captain Jos Buttler said: ‘He’s been starting to do a little bit of stuff back in cricket and it’s just great for him to be around. He’s obviously an England legend and it’s nice for us to have him with the group.
‘He hasn’t been brought in with any specific role. He’s just here to observe and a few of the lads can pick his brains. He’s settled in really well and it’s great to have him with us.’
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