Replacing the field with the camera is almost a mandatory move for retiring players these days, regardless of the sport.
But if the majority trade their place on the field for a place in the commentators’ box, seeing professional athletes become television presenters remains rather rare.
Few are more successful in both fields than Freddie Flintoff, who seamlessly transitioned from one of England’s greatest cricketers to a much-loved television star.
This last role almost cost him his life as he was the victim of a near-fatal car accident. during the filming of BBCIt is Higher speed show in December 2022 at Dunsfold Park Airfield in Surrey.
Flintoff, without a helmet and no airbag to protect him, was driving an open-top three-wheeled Morgan Super 3, capable of reaching speeds of up to 130 mph, in icy conditions when it flipped and slid along the trail, dragging his face along the trail. tarmac with that.
Andrew Flintoff has joined England’s ODI team as a consultant for the series against New Zealand
The TV presenter suffered a near-fatal accident while filming BBC motoring show Top Gear in December, requiring four hours of surgery.
Flintoff’s role at Top Gear now in doubt after his horrific accident last year
He spent four hours on the operating table and his horrific facial injuries were still visible when he returned to work with the England cricket team last week, as he joined Jos Butleron the side as a consultant for their ODI series against New Zealand
His return to the sport comes 14 years after his retirement at The Oval, shortly after winning the Ashes for a second time.
A superb all-rounder combining destructive hitting with ferocious bursts of fast bowling – look no further than his legendary spells against Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis – as a cricketer, Flintoff had it all.
Arguably the biggest star of England’s 2005 Ashes triumph, he was pictured looking bleary-eyed alongside Kevin Pietersen as the England team attended a reception at Downing Street after beating Australia to regain the ballot for the first time in 19 years.
Flintoff never shied away from drinking and in his autobiography Ashes To Ashes he explained how he once arrived to practice “the smell of booze” and how he drank 10 pints of Guinness while on tour in cricket at the age of 17.
And alcohol cost him the England vice-captaincy in 2007, when he was sacked by then-manager Duncan Fletcher over the infamous pedal boat incident in St Lucia.
England’s World Cup campaign in the West Indies had gotten off to an inauspicious start with Flintoff, who had just captained the Test team to a humiliating 5-0 defeat in Australia, missing out for a golden duck in the defeat against New Zealand.
The Lancastrian decided to head out for a consolation drink and boarded a pedalo at night in a bid to find the boat he thought Sir Ian Botham was having a nightcap on.
The legendary all-rounder was one of the stars of England’s 2005 Ashes triumph.
Flintoff was pictured looking bleary-eyed alongside Kevin Pietersen (right) as the England team attended a reception at Downing Street.
But in 2007 he faced the wrath of coach Duncan Fletcher (right) and was sacked as vice-captain after having to be rescued after boarding a pedal boat during a evening.
Flintoff retired after winning the Ashes for a second time in 2009
Botham was in the West Indies covering the tournament as a television pundit, but the meeting with Flintoff never took place as the latter had to be rescued after the pedal boat capsized and faced the wrath of Fletcher on next morning.
“It was a real low point,” the father-of-four recalled on Piers Morgan’s ITV show Life Stories in 2014.
“I had this press conference and I walked through the hotel reception – and the England fans were shaking their heads.
“I couldn’t look them in the eye and thought, ‘This isn’t good.’
Speaking on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2015, Flintoff, who has been sober for almost a decade now, identified the incident as the moment he realized drinking had become a problem.
The 45-year-old has been equally open about his dealing with depression and the strong connection between his mental issues and his drinking.
“It’s not so much the drinking that matters, but rather the reasons why you drink,” he explained on the radio show.
“When you’re drinking because you’re trying to get away from something, I think that’s when you have to look at everything.
“One of the reasons I probably stopped drinking is because I’m prone to depression. Drinking doesn’t help at all. I don’t touch it anymore.
Flintoff (pictured here in 2014) has been sober for almost a decade now
The 45-year-old has spoken openly about his battles with bulimia and depression.
Flintoff (left) started hosting Top Gear in 2018 after launching his TV career in 2010
Talk to The sun in 2021, he added: “I was drinking to try and change how I felt and that’s when it became a problem.
“If I breastfed, I would start drinking, and not just for one session. This would last for weeks and it couldn’t continue.
Flintoff always wore his heart on his sleeve and was usually blunt when the subject of the BBC documentary Living with Bulimia three years ago.
He candidly admitted his struggles with the eating disorder, revealing they started after being humiliated by the press for his appearance when his international career was in its infancy.
The struggles continued throughout his career and into his retirement, with Flintoff admitting that he had made himself ill after eating, even in the 12 months before filming the documentary.
Flintoff first revealed he suffered from bulimia in 2014, but only sought medical advice when the BBC documentary aired six years later.
“I don’t want to be a statistic,” he said, revealing he was moved to speak out to help raise awareness about why eating disorders remain a stigma for men .
“I don’t want people to read in years to come that something happened to me.”
By this time, he was already an established television star.
Having retired from cricket after winning the Ashes in 2009, he reinvented himself within a year on the hugely popular Sky program A League of Their Own alongside Jamie Redknapp and James Corden.
Three seasons of Flintoff: Lord of the Fries on Sky One with Rob Penn followed, as well as appearances on podcasts and reality shows, before becoming the new host of Top Gear alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in 2018 .
But as Mail Sport reported on Thursday, Flintoff was seriously affected emotionally and physically by the accident, leaving his television career in doubt and the future of Top Gear uncertain.
The former England star still bears the horrific facial injuries caused by his accident.
As Mail Sport reports, Flintoff was seriously affected emotionally and physically by the accident and a return to television remains up in the air.
So could Flintoff return to cricket permanently?
“There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the start of something,” England’s director of cricket Rob Key, who masterminded Flintoff’s return, told Mail Sport.
“There’s nothing better than coming back into the team thinking you’re going to make an impact. Even without the accident, I think he would have come back at some point.
“But one step at a time. (…) We’ll take it as it comes but it’s good for him to think about something other than the fall.