England Ashes hero Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is to make a shock return to cricket – playing for his local side.
The former all-rounder, who retired from the game last year, has signed for Preston-based Penwortham and will play in the Moore & Smalley Palace Shield Competition this summer.
Flintoff, 33, played 79 test matches and 141 one-day internationals for England over an 11 year period before injuries bought his career to an end.
He will now team up with his brother Chris for Penwortham – who play two miles from where the 6ft 5 sporting icon grew up.
Penwortham club chairman Paul Walmsley said: “All I can really tell you is that Andrew Flintoff has signed for Penwortham Cricket Club.
“His forms will be sent to the Palace Shield league officials for their subsequent approval.
“We look forward to seeing “Freddie” once he has recovered from recent surgery.
“He has expressed a keen interest to play alongside Chris and he will, of course, be made more than welcome.”
Penwortham Cricket Club was founded in 1880 and run four senior Saturday teams and one Sunday Team. They also have a youth set-up with youngsters ranging from six and up.
It’s a huge departure for the ever-popular Flintoff who, two years ago, was signed by Indian Premier League outfit Chennai Super Kings for a world record $1,550,000 and has played in front of nearly 100,000 fans at Australia’s MCG.
Penwortham’s ground, in comparison, consists of a modern brick pavilion with a small bar, a car park, three bays of artificial nets purchased with the assistance of a Sport England grant and a mobile grass practice net and score box.