• T20 Blast

Lancashire confirm Flintoff return

ESPN staff
May 30, 2014
Andrew Flintoff shakes hands with Ricky Ponting after his final Test at The Oval in 2009 © Getty Images

Lancashire have confirmed that former England captain Andrew Flintoff will play for them in the T20 Blast this season.

Flintoff, 36, retired in 2009 but has recently been training with the county. He said that being turned down for a place in the MCC XI against the World XI at Lord's helped him to decide to return.

"One of my ambitions as a cricketer was to play in the same team as Sachin Tendulkar and I thought the MCC game against the World XI in July was my chance and they said they didn't want me," he told the BBC. "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 phoned me up to tell me they didn't want me. He said they've got Brian Lara, and that I hadn't played for five years and they've got 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.

"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."

He said that this was not a one-off comeback and he wanted to look longer term. "You see Brad Hogg playing in the Big Bash, Brad Hodge's playing for Australia at 39, Glen Chapple's 40 and still charging in in four-dayers. I feel young, I behave like I'm young. It's the easiest decision I've made in my career. I can't guarantee performance, I've got to prove myself.

"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 Flintoff retired he was struggling with a series of long-standing injuries, but he is confident his body can stand up to his latest challenge. "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."

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