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Freddie Flintoff cracks a smile as he arrives at a cricket nets session in Cardiff as he continues to put horror Top Gear crash behind him

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Freddie Flintoff cracked a smile as he was pictured arriving for a cricket nets session in Cardiff on Monday as he continues to put his Top Gear horror crash firmly behind him.

The former star player, 46, has been helping England’s internationals prepare for the World T20 competition, with the side due to play Pakistan on Tuesday.

He has been seen at the side of the team throughout the week as the end of his time presenting Top Gear means he has more spare hours to devote to his love of the game.

Flintoff was driving an open-topped sports car at 130mph when it flipped over at Dunsfold airfield in Surrey in December 2022 – leaving him ‘lucky to be alive’.

Fans of the star have been relieved to see his recovery taking good shape as he helps England prepare for the Cricket World Cup, which begins in June in joint-host nations the USA and the West Indies.

Freddie Flintoff, 46, has been helping England’s internationals prepare for the World T20 competition, with the side due to play Pakistan on Tuesday

Flintoff was driving an open-topped sports car at 130mph when it flipped over at Dunsfold airfield in Surrey in December 2022 - leaving him 'lucky to be alive'

Flintoff was driving an open-topped sports car at 130mph when it flipped over at Dunsfold airfield in Surrey in December 2022 – leaving him ‘lucky to be alive’

Wearing a hoodie and sunglasses with hair ruffled, Flintoff was seen arriving in buoyant spirits with a broad smile across his face. 

While Flintoff kept a low-profile initially in the aftermath of the incident, he has started returning to the public eye in recent months.

Although evidence of his injuries were at first clearly visible, they are already starting to fade somewhat. 

Bosses at the BBC felt it would be ‘inappropriate’ to carry on filming Top Gear in wake of what happened.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: ‘Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.

‘The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019, and we’re excited about new projects being developed with each of them.

‘We will have more to say in the near future on this. We know resting the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.’

Flintoff was first seen in public following the crash in September last year when he was photographed with cuts on his face.

Bosses at the BBC felt it would be 'inappropriate' to carry on filming Top Gear in wake of what happened (Flintoff pictured at Edgbaston on Saturday)

Bosses at the BBC felt it would be ‘inappropriate’ to carry on filming Top Gear in wake of what happened (Flintoff pictured at Edgbaston on Saturday)

Flintoff's family (pictured with his wife Rachael and three of their four children) reportedly begged him to stay away from the set while he was recovering from his injuries

Flintoff’s family (pictured with his wife Rachael and three of their four children) reportedly begged him to stay away from the set while he was recovering from his injuries 

Rob Key, England's managing director, previously said that Flintoff has a similar 'gift' for man-management to that of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes

Rob Key, England’s managing director, previously said that Flintoff has a similar ‘gift’ for man-management to that of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes

He was spotted making 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.

It was not the first time filming for Top Gear caused serious injuries – both Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson have previously told of awful crashes which has seen them need urgent medical attention while filming the BBC show. 

In the aftermath of the accident, Flintoff’s wife Rachael reportedly begged him to stay off work – perhaps influencing his decision to return to the relatively gentle world of cricket, as opposed to the increasingly daring lifestyle he lived before his crash.

A source told the Sun: ‘As a loving husband and dad he understands the fear his family feel about what’s happened, knowing that he could have been killed. He is determined to resume his TV work at some point though.

‘That’s why this decision will be a painful one for Freddie, but he knows that, for now at least, there are more important things in life.’

He has now been tipped to possibly even take over as head coach of the squad in the future. 

It comes as, in a blow to England, it was announced Jos Buttler has left the squad ahead of Tuesday’s T20 international against Pakistan with his wife about to give birth to their third child.

Flintoff shows off his throwing skills

The ex-international cricketer sips a coffee watching  the match

The ex-international cricketer showed off his throwing skills (left) and sipped a coffee (right) while watching a game in September 2023

The England captain made a match-winning 84 on Saturday as England took a 1-0 lead in the rain-hit four-game series.

But Buttler will miss the third game of the series in Cardiff, with vice-captain Moeen Ali set to take over.

Moeen said last week that he is ready to lead England at the upcoming T20 World Cup if Buttler misses part of the tournament on paternity leave.

England play their World Cup opener against Scotland in Barbados on June 4 after the Pakistan series wraps up at the Kia Oval on Thursday.

Ben Duckett seems set to replace Buttler at the top of the order in Cardiff, with Will Jacks staying at three after his 23-ball 37 against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Pace bowler Jofra Archer could be rested, ahead of the Oval finale.

Archer played his first game on English soil at Edgbaston since 2020 after an injury-hit few years where he had been troubled by repeated issues with his right elbow.

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