Just weeks after discovering that Andrew Flintoff is considering a return to club cricket with the side he represented as a teenager, the Ashes hero is being linked with a potential return for his county of Lancashire.
Northern League side, St Annes, had a request for a registration form from the all-rounder’s granddad with game time experience and match fitness looking to be gained prior to Flintoff’s involvement in a charity T20 contest at Lord’s later this summer.
Recent involvement coaching academy players at Old Trafford has created whispers that the former England captain could also make an unbelievable return to the first-class format though – four years after retiring.
It is in the T20 Blast – which begins on May 16 - where one of England’s leading wicket takers of all-time could return.
But would a cricket comeback on this scale be a good move on the part of the Lancastrian? As we witnessed from his boxing escapades, Flintoff is a brave man, but returning to professional cricket could be a challenge too difficult even for Freddy to overcome.
At only 36 years of age, Flintoff certainly wouldn’t be the oldest player on the pitch if he was to return. New player coach – and former Lancashire teammate – Glen Chapple is now 40-years-old and still going strong in the County Championship.
That familiarity would ease the England man of 79 Tests back into the game, yet the persistent injuries that decimated his late playing career are dark clouds that are gathering over any potential revival.
Cricket fans instinctively think back to the 2005 Ashes Series when they hear Andrew Flintoff’s name. His physical exertion, capability to take big wickets at key moments, and consoling of Brett Lee at Edgbaston are all factors that made him such a well-loved player.
For that reason, it would be such a shame to see him fail on a return. As exciting a prospect a Flintoff return may be, it would be heartbreaking to see him limping around a field or being stretchered away, a shell of the man he once was.
Since retiring from cricket in 2010, Flintoff has carved himself a decent career as a TV entertainer on Sky1’s A League of Their Own, as well as venturing into the world of professional boxing.
With a beaming smile and a booming northern accent, the three-time Ashes victor has continued to brighten peoples’ days, just as he used to do the other side of the boundary rope.
Yet while it will be brilliant to see him playing exhibition matches, an Andrew Flintoff at half capacity in the county game would be a saddening sight to behold.
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