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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nadeem Badshah

Andrew Flintoff makes first public appearance since Top Gear crash

Andrew Flintoff wearing a blue bucket hat, with tape on his nose and scars around his nose and mouth, in a match crowd
Former England captain Andrew Flintoff at the England-New Zealand one day international match at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff has been pictured for the first time since he was injured in an accident at the Top Gear test track last year that saw him airlifted to hospital.

The 45-year-old, who had visible scars on his face and tape on his nose, was seen with the England team during their one-day international against New Zealand at Cardiff on Friday.

The former all-rounder led fielding drills with the England players at the Sophia Gardens ground and he was spotted on the England balcony during the New Zealand innings, with the tourists winning by eight wickets.

Flintoff sustained facial injuries and broken ribs after his open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 car flipped and slid along the track when he was driving at high speed in December.

The incident took place at the BBC programme’s track at Dunsfold Park aerodrome in Surrey.

In March, the BBC said it will not resume filming the 34th series of Top Gear due to the crash.

The broadcaster said there will be a health and safety review on the motoring show, which has been running in its current iteration for 21 years. The BBC added it had apologised to Flintoff, and the accident had affected the team who produce the show.

Flintoff has already had one high-speed crash while filming the long-running programme. In 2019 he crashed at 125mph while travelling in a three-wheeled cycle car but managed to walk away from the scene.

In 2006, then Top Gear co-presenter Richard Hammond suffered serious head injuries and spent two weeks in a coma after a crash while filming at the former RAF Elvington airbase near York. He recovered and returned to the show in 2007.

The England captain, Jos Buttler, said it was “great” to have Flintoff around the squad. Buttler said: “He’s obviously an England legend and it’s just nice to have him around the group. 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.”

Flintoff retired from cricket in 2009 after playing 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven T20s for England.

He played an instrumental role in Ashes triumphs in England in 2005 and 2009, and was captain between 2006 and 2007.

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