Andrew Flintoff is riding a wave of optimism after taking three wickets in the second match of his Lancashire comeback, and the all-rounder isn’t anticipating a wipe out as he aspires to extend his playing career by a few more years.
The former England captain took figures of 3/26 as the Lightning defeated Leicestershire by 18 runs to book their place in the Natwest T20 Blast quarterfinals last weekend.
Progression to the knockout stages will ensure that Flintoff can partake in more than just the two remaining group games that the side have. However, the 36-year-old also has one eye on seasons to come, after taking five wickets in his first two games since returning from retirement.
While he has yet to play a game in his home county of Lancashire, the Ashes winner was seen bowling on the morning of the side’s third day against Nottinghamshire at Liverpool.
Speculation will continue to circle as to the extent of this comeback, and whether or not it will be limited to 20-over cricket.
Nevertheless, Flintoff – speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Charles Dagnell – has revealed that he’d also be open to any prospective offers from abroad, but is primarily aiming to win silverware with Lancashire.
It is evident that he is fully enjoying his comeback, after a succession of injuries enforced his retirement from the sport at the age of 31.
Regarding his return, Flintoff said: “It’s something which I never thought would happen and I never set out to do it and now it’s happening I am just going with it.
“I just can’t stop smiling every time I’m out there.”
And that happy attitude is something that the big-hitting batsman is keen to prolong for as long as possible.
“I’m 37 in December – I don’t know if I can just drag it out for a couple more years and see how long I can burgle it,” added Flintoff.
For anyone who thought that this comeback was just a ploy to increase ticket sales for home T20 fixtures, the 6”4 fast bowler has explained that he means business when he takes to the field.
He added: “I’m going with the flow to some degree but for me it wasn’t just about getting into the Lancashire side and having a nostalgic return and old sentiments, I want to win trophies.
“One of the things I wanted to do when I was 31 was, after my England career, to come back and win things with Lancashire and I have been given this gift now – it’s a gift to try and do it again – and just playing isn’t enough.
“I want to win things with Lancashire first and foremost. If there is interest from around the world then so be it.”
The Lancashire lad has experience with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, an opportunity that could fashion itself depending on how well he continues in the Natwest T20 Blast.
Glenn Chapple’s side still have group games against Derbyshire and Durham to come at Old Trafford, before a quarterfinal tie that will decide whether or not they will attend Finals Day.
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After becoming the first county to progress from the group stages, Lancashire should be confident. With Flintoff added to both the batting and bowling ranks, their chances of finally winning the tournament, and reaching their first final since 2005.
For the 36-year-old, the risk of injury must always be playing on his mind, and as a result, he is trying to make the most of every minute he has wearing the red of his home county.
Flintoff added: “Now, where every game could be my last, I am just enjoying everything about it, speaking to everyone in the grounds and it’s great. I’m really enjoying it.”