Jason Manford discusses Freddie Flintoff after Top Gear accident
As Andrew “Freddie Flintoff” makes a triumphant return to work, the cricketer’s former teammate Steve Harmison has spoken out about the “huge ordeal” his pal has experienced.
The 45-year-old had suffered facial injuries and broken ribs following a horror smash at 130mph, which led to filming for Top Gear’s latest series being called to a halt.
Now, after almost nine months out of the industry, he could be seen working with the England cricket team earlier this month on the One-Day International series against New Zealand.
Steve spoke out to Online Cricket Betting to state that Freddie had initially found the idea of public appearances difficult after going through “hell” during his injury ordeal.
“I saw him during his rehab [when] his son and my son played cricket together and Andrew was just starting to come out of the house and back into the world,” he explained.
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“We all knew the love and affection for him would be there, but it’s easier said than done for someone in his position.
“For me, that was the hardest part – everybody said it would be great to see him in cricket again, but he didn’t want to come out in public.”
However, he added that the moment Freddie did first venture out, “we knew that he really wanted to”.
Describing his cricket legend pal as a “national treasure”, the 44-year-old bowler said that the mission had been to rebuild Freddie’s “confidence”.
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“It was great to see him back with a smile on his face [as] he’s gone through a hell of a lot, he really has. It was a huge ordeal and nobody can understand what somebody goes through inside,” Steve explained.
He also reminisced on spending almost 15 years in the dressing room with him as the pair enjoyed their cricketing careers.
Steve now has designs on his pal becoming a commentator, marvelling that his understanding of the game is “ridiculous”.
He spoke of his popularity among the public, which was cemented by TalkTV star Piers Morgan tweeting his pleasure to see him back in public.
“Brilliant to see Freddie @flintoff11 back with the England team today, after that horrendous Top Gear car smash,” he told his 8.5 million followers this month.
He’d previously spoken out on the terrifying wall of silence he’d received from Freddie for months after the accident, despite them regularly keeping in contact on WhatsApp prior to that.
“For eight months, there was no reply; just a constant, increasingly unsettling silence from a guy who I’ve known for 20 years, texted with very often, and who I consider a great friend,” the 58-year-old had told The Sun.
“The longer the silence went on, the more worried I grew about what exactly had happened to him in an accident I knew he’d been lucky to survive.”
He was pleased to see him with the England team on the pitch in Cardiff this month, however, explaining that while his face still carried some of the evidence of his crash, he “otherwise looked like the old Fred, laughing and joking as he helped the players practice”.
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