Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff made his first appearance in nine months at the Sophia Gardens on Friday as he joined up with the England squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand. The 45-year-old was hospitalised last December after he suffered facial injuries in an accident while shooting for Top Gear at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey last year, according to Sky Sports. England played their first ODI match of the one-day international series gainst New Zealand. However, they lost the game by eight wickets.
Flintoff who has played in 79 Tests and 141 one-day matches for England, joined the England team and was pictured sitting in the stands with the rest of the support staff.
In yesterday’s game between Eng and NZ Freddie made his first appearance since his accident in Dec 2022 and I couldn’t recognise him.
— Rajiv (@Rajiv1841) September 9, 2023
England captain Jos Buttler was delighted that Flintoff joined the squad.
After the match, Buttler said as quoted by Sky Sports, “So he’s been starting to do some stuff in cricket. It’s just great for him to be around, he’s obviously an England legend and it’s just nice to have him around the group.”
The England ODI captain cleared that Flintoff has not been given specific role, he was just there to observe.
“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,” Buttler said.
In the match, New Zealand opted to bowl first. England got off to a solid start with 80-run partnership between Harry Brook (25 in 41 balls, with two fours) and Dawid Malan (54 in 53 balls, with nine fours). England then sunk to 101/3.
Then an 88-run stand between Buttler (72) and a returning Ben Stokes (52 in 69 balls with three fours and a six) and a 77-run partnership between Buttler and Liam Livingstone (52 in 40 balls, with three fours and three sixes) helped England reach 291/6 in 50 overs.
Rachin Ravindra (3/48) and Tim Southee (2/71) were the pick of the bowlers for NZ.
In the chase of 292, openers Devon Conway and Will Young (29) helped NZ get off to a solid start, forming a 61-run stand. Then followed a 56-run partnership between Conway and Henry Nicholls (26 in 30 balls, with three fours).
After England reduced NZ to 117/2, Conway (111* in 121 balls with 13 fours and a six) and Daryl Mitchell (118* in 91 balls with seven fours and seven sixes) dismantled the English bowling with their hitting, forming a match-winning 180-run partnership.
Conway was adjudged as the ‘Player of the Match’ for his century.
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