Anderson backs Flintoff return

  • Last Updated: May 27 2014, 14:22 BST

Andrew Flintoff's former Lancashire and England fast-bowling colleague James Anderson sees it as a "smart move" for the county to try to bring the long-retired fans' favourite back into the fold.

Andrew Flintoff: With Lancashire's first team at Headingley
Andrew Flintoff: With Lancashire's first team at Headingley

Flintoff has held talks with Lancashire about a possible NatWest T20 Blast comeback at the age of 36, having last played competitive cricket almost five years ago.

There was speculation he might return for Lancashire 2nd XI in a friendly against a representative team from the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League at Leek on Tuesday.

Instead, he appeared at Headingley to join training with the first-team squad before day three of their LV= County Championship match against Roses rivals Yorkshire.

His attendance was revealed on Yorkshire's official Twitter feed in a post which read: "Good morning from Headingley - and contrary to the forecasts, it's cloudy but dry. Surprise addition to Lancs squad warming up - @flintoff11."

Anderson was later asked if he thought it was a feasible prospect for Flintoff to return to professional cricket.

"If he's fit, and bowling well, then of course," he said.

"With someone who has been out of the game so long, I guess the issue would be fitness - and getting up to match intensity."

There have been suggestions that Flintoff's return may not necessarily be in a playing role.

Anderson, speaking at England's press conference to preview their Royal London one-day international at Old Trafford, added: "I think it's quite a smart move from the coach's point of view - just to have him around.

"You can see the young guys trying to learn from him and talk to him about the game - to have him around is great, that sort of knowledge to tap into.

"But from a playing point of view, I think we'll just have to wait and see."

In his years away from cricket, Flintoff has explored other options - including one bout of professional boxing.

He represented England in 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 games. He also made 80 first-class appearances for the Red Rose, scoring 4,042 runs at 35.14 and taking 92 wickets at 29.16.

Flintoff's Lancashire Twenty20 record consists of 16 games, averaging 13.94 with the ball and 29.64 with the bat, with a high score of 93 against Derbyshire in 2009.

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