- Andrew Flintoff’s role as an unpaid mentor ends Tuesday
- Former all-rounder worked with England during one-day series
- Assistant coach Marcus Trescothick notices a difference in Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff’s return to English cricket comes to an end on Tuesday, at least for now, with an old teammate leading the call to make his comeback permanent.
Marcus Trescothick says the man he played alongside in the famous 2005 Ashes triumph sprinkled ‘gold dust’ on the England dressing room in his unpaid role as mentor for the one-day series against New Zealand and Ireland.
And England’s assistant coach has noticed a difference in Flintoff, from the day he quietly crept back into the line-up without fanfare in Cardiff two weeks ago, to the confident figure working with the white-ball wannabees in Bristol on Monday.
“I think he was a bit nervous coming into the area,” Trescothick said ahead of the final international of the season.
“He didn’t know many of the people here, so he’s grown a lot from when he first came here. He is back to being the person you expect him to be in cricket, the person I have seen for so many years. That was great, really good.’
Andrew Flintoff has been working as an unpaid mentor for England this summer
Flintoff had stayed out of the spotlight as he continued his recovery from a crash
England batting coach Marcus Trescothick (left) with Flintoff during the ODI in Cardiff
That person is ‘Freddie’, the man who became a cricket superstar and went on to forge an equally successful second career in television before the horrific car crash while filming Top Gear nine months ago that could easily have cost him his life.
Flintoff’s reintroduction to the game that has seen him, handled sensitively by his good friend Rob Key, has been a great success and it is now expected that Freddie will be working with England again soon, possibly as early as white-ball tour to the United States. Caribbean in December.
“It was great to see him grow back into Freddie,” Trescothick said. “He has been away from cricket for a long time, but this is where it all started for him and where he belongs. The boys are very excited about him and we all hope to see him again.
‘A few times he spoke in the dressing room and it was ‘wow’. The way he talks and delivers messages to players is fantastic. Sprinkling a bit of gold dust around the team and having the younger players work with him has been invaluable. You can’t put a price on it.’
The only person who may have “suffered” from Flintoff’s presence is his fellow hero from 2005. “It’s been hard for me because he hammers me more than anyone else,” Trescothick smiled. “I’m the first target of his chatter!”
‘No, it was fantastic. We all see Freddie improving and that is very good from our point of view. If we as players, squads and cricket in general continue to help people who have had a tough time, like Freddie, then we are doing something right.”
The daytime match against Ireland gives second-string England one last chance to earn places as non-traveling reserve for the World Cup squad that heads to India on Wednesday.
Will Jacks, who made 94 in victory in what became the first match of this series at Trent Bridge on Saturday after the washout at Headingley, appears to be at the front of the queue.
“We know what a talent he is,” Trescothick added. “Getting the opportunity to play will be his biggest challenge because this is a tough team to break into.”