Freddie Flintoff warmed up for his Lancashire comeback almost five years after retiring with three wickets as he turned out for his old club side St Annes on Saturday.
Preston-born Flintoff took three for 26 in 12 overs, which also included five maidens, as St Annes dismissed Penrith in 48 overs and set themselves a target of 133 to win in the Northern League match.
The 36-year-old former England all-rounder, who signed up for this season’s T20 Blast competition with Lancashire Lightning this week, then scored just two runs on a more disappointing return with the bat – while wearing his old England helmet.
St Annes went on to win the match by two wickets.
Flintoff said on Twitter: “Loving my day –11 overs and great fun.
“Had a bit if help from Watty the keeper for my first wicket, still not sure it carried.”
Following his short innings with the bat, he added: “Blocked one to long off for 2 off 3 !”
Preston-born Flintoff retired in 2010 after suffering knee problems and has represented England in 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 games.
Despite that, Flintoff is determined it will not stop his return to action.
‘’I don’t want it to be for one year. I’m 36. I feel young, I behave like I’m young,” the former England captain said.
‘’I can’t guarantee performance. I might not get picked for Lancashire’s first team. I’ve got to prove myself.”
Flintoff later tweeted a response to Sir Ian Botham after the former England captain said the 36-year-old was making a mistake in returning to cricket.
Botham said of Flintoff’s comeback: “While I wish him all the very best, I think he is making a massive mistake.
“To come back after five years out of the game and with that injury still in the background is a huge risk. I just hope he does not let himself down too badly.’’
Flintoff tweeted on Saturday evening: “Thanks for your concerns @BeefyBotham but being a happy is never a mistake!”