Andrew Flintoff has grown “back into Freddie” and returned to his old self since working within the England set-up, Marcus Trescothick, his team-mate during the victorious Ashes 2005 series, has said.
Flintoff made a return to public life for the first time since a near-fatal car crash while filming Top Gear last year when he initially started assisting the squad in the one-day international series against New Zealand earlier this month. His involvement was later extended to take in the three ODIs against Ireland.
Trescothick said Flintoff’s interactions with the side are becoming more significant and hopes that he will be involved more with the squad in the future. After playing his last England match in 2009, Flintoff has – barring a brief T20 comeback at domestic level in 2014 – barely been involved in the sport, concentrating on his media career.
“I think he was a little bit nervous coming into the environment,” Trescothick, now England’s full-time assistant coach, said. “He doesn’t know many of the people so from where he was coming in first at Cardiff to where he is now, he’s grown massively.
“He’s back into the person you expect to be around cricket because that’s what I’ve seen for so many years and it’s been great, really good. He’s really enjoyed the opportunity and the team have taken to him being around. Hopefully we’ll see more of him in the future.”
Trescothick, who played 46 of his Tests alongside Flintoff, also believes that working in cricket again is helping his former team-mate’s recovery.
“He’s been brilliant. A couple of times he’s spoken in the changing room it’s been like ‘wow’. You can see the difference and I’ve seen the progression of him as a character, the way he talks and delivers messages to players has been superb. To have him sprinkling a bit of gold dust around the team and having the younger players working with that has been invaluable really. You can’t put a price on it.
“Seeing him grow back into Freddie and getting back into the cricket – obviously he’s been away from cricket for a long period of time but this is where it all starts and where it belongs for him. The guys have really taken to him.
“You become more comfortable, don’t you? This is what we know, this is what we’ve grown up with for so many years. Once you come to your comfortable environment, you know what goes on and you understand the place, people have respect for what he has done and enjoy seeing him improving. That’s really good from our point of view. If we as players and squads and cricket in general keep doing that for people who have fallen on tougher times then great we’re doing something right.”
England might well make changes for Tuesday’s final ODI against Ireland at Bristol, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore in contention for a debut. Trescothick said that the culture of the England white-ball side, and strength in depth, helps newcomers step-up to the international game. In the 48-run victory on Saturday, Will Jacks scored 94 in his third ODI while Sam Hain hit 89.
“The ethos we’ve had as a white-ball team for a good number of years now – I think it has transferred over from different coaches, to different captains and a few different players,” Trescothick said. “The people coming into this team, they know what to expect, to think about how they’re going to be playing – and they’ve learned it in a good way over the last few years.”
Tickets are still available for England’s final international of a packed summer, which takes place just nine days before their World Cup defence with the clash against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.