Freddie Flintoff is all smiles as he's spotted in England training

Freddie Flintoff is all smiles as he’s spotted in England training as Jofra Archer takes part in the session after lengthy lay-off in a huge boost ahead of the World Cup

  • Flintoff, 45, has returned to English cricket after his horror crash on Top Gear
  • England have been given a boost as Jofra Archer took part in training 

Freddie Flintoff was all smiles as he participated in an England training session ahead of the third one-day international against New Zealand.

Flintoff, 45, was spotted last week for the first time since his life-threatening crash while working for Top Gear last December.

The former all-rounder, who is back working with the England team, was pictured smiling as he chatted to Jonny Bairstow at The Oval. 

England were also given a pre-World Cup boost when Jofra Archer took part in the session.

Archer, who in May was ruled out of the entire summer following a recurrence of a stress fracture to his right elbow, may yet go to the World Cup as one of England’s three travelling reserves.

Freddie Flintoff (right) was spotted chatting to England’s Jonny Bairstow at the Oval on Tuesday

Flintoff has returned to the England coaching set-up following his horror crash last year

The 45-year-old looked in good spirits as he participated in the session ahead of the third one-day international against New Zealand

But England insist nothing has changed after national selector Luke Wright insisted last month that he remained an outside bet even to play in the latter stages of the tournament in India, where England will be defending the trophy they won in 2019.

Archer last played international cricket during the T20 series in Bangladesh in March, taking three for 13 in the second game, at Mirpur. Earlier in the year, in his second match back in England colours after an absence of nearly two years, he underlined his class with figures of six for 40 in an ODI against South Africa in Kimberley.

But hopes he might play a part in England’s Ashes campaign were dashed when he returned home early from the IPL in April, having undergone surgery on the elbow during a mid-tournament trip to Belgium.

When it emerged Archer had suffered a recurrence of the issue, England MD Rob Key said he was ‘distraught’.

This morning, though, he was bowling on a practice pitch at The Oval off something close to his full run-up – with England legend Flintoff, wearing a baseball glove on his left hand, acting as a makeshift wicketkeeper. Key was among those in attendance.

Flintoff suffered a near-fatal car crash last December while shooting an episode of BBC motoring series Top Gear at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey and was airlifted to hospital after breaking a rib and suffering facial injuries.

The 45-year-old made his first appearance since the accident this week as he returned to working with the England cricket team with cuts noticeable on his nose and mouth. 

Father-of-four Flintoff, who is one of the great all-rounders of the English game and the hero of the 2005 Ashes triumph, quit his Top Gear job after the accident and the BBC cancelled the latest series of the show – with its future remaining in doubt.

Jofra Archer returned to training in a huge boost for England ahead of the World Cup

While it is unclear whether Flintoff will ever be back on TV screens, last Friday he made a return to senior England cricket by joining the coaching staff at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens for the one-day international series against New Zealand as a mentor.

Flintoff was an iconic symbol of the famous side that won the Ashes in 2005.

In all he played in 79 Tests and 141 one-day internationals before retiring after England won the 2009 Ashes.

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