The cricket star turned TV presenter inspired a group of young Preston lads to take up the sport for his series ‘Field of Dreams’ - aiming to prove class is no barrier for success in the game that made him a household name.
The former international cricketer succeeded in creating a team from unlikely teenagers but it was traumatised 16-year-old Afghanistan refugee Adnan Miekhal who proved to be his biggest find.
The youngster, who plays for Wigan CC, was in Lancashire County Council foster care when he was discovered by producers for the BBC show and it was suggested he should join Freddie’s fledgling team. From the first throw it was obvious he had talent.
He won the hearts of viewers and now he has been granted asylum.
“Adnan’s got asylum,” Flintoff tweeted on Friday night. “Massive thank you to you all, can’t stop smiling.”
One of his foster parents, Elaine Jefferson replied to the post and was full of praise for the Top Gear host.
“As Adnan’s foster carer I just want to thank you all for your lovely comments,” she said.
“He is a very special young man who deserves it. But the biggest thanks goes to Freddie for his support and kindness towards Adnan.”
Last month, Elaine, from Preston, explained what Adnan had been through just to get to Lancashire.
“Effectively, Adnan travelled in the back of a lorry from Afghanistan to Calais by foot boat, truck and cars,” she said.
“In Calais he hid in an empty lorry and found his way to Preston. When he arrived here, he cut himself out of the lorry and handed himself in to the police.
“Barry and I have total admiration for Adnan. In making his way to the UK, he has displayed astonishing levels of courage and ingenuity. Since he came to stay with us, he has learnt English, made lots of friends at college and of course, demonstrated his fantastic ability to play cricket.
“Adnan is genuinely gifted and we’re privileged to have got to know him”.