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Andrew Flintoff, former England cricket captain, speaks on camera for first time since ‘Top Gear’ crash

<i>Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters</i><br/>Flintoff (second from left) worked with the England team last month.
Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters
Flintoff (second from left) worked with the England team last month.

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Former England cricket captain Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff has spoken publicly for the first time since being hospitalized after an accident during filming of the popular motoring show “Top Gear.”

In a video shared by the England Cricket team on social media Wednesday, Flintoff was seen awarding an England cap to current spin bowler Tom Hartley ahead of his debut last month and in his speech referred to the support he had received since the accident.

The December 2022 crash left Flintoff with reported broken ribs and facial injuries. Nine months after the incident, Flintoff still has visible facial cuts and scars.

“When you get this cap, this changes your life. It’s one of those things. It’s before and after it,” an emotional Flintoff said when addressing Hartley.

“This enables you to walk tall and move faster. Play with passion, play with pride, play with belief. And also (be) part of a family of people.

“They’ll share the good times with you, the successes. But as I found over the past few months, they’ll be there in the hardest times of your life, they will stand next to you.”

Flintoff has kept a low profile since the accident, making a rare public appearance while watching England’s opening one-day international against New Zealand in September.

He had started working casually with the England coaching staff in the last few months.

The 45-year-old announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2010, at age 32, because of a long-standing knee injury.

The highlight of his cricket career came in 2005, when he inspired England to win the Ashes back from Australia, the first time they had beaten their rivals in 18 years.

After retiring, he turned his attention to the media and became a co-host of “Top Gear” in 2019.

In February that year, Flintoff crashed into a market stall while filming the show but escaped unscathed.

In March this year, the BBC said it had halted production on the latest series of “Top Gear” following an investigation into Flintoff’s accident in December.

The former cricket star is not the only “Top Gear” host to have been involved in a high-speed crash while filming the show.

In 2006, Richard Hammond was left in a coma for two weeks after crashing in a Vampire jet car traveling at 288 miles per hour. He suffered serious head injuries but survived and returned to the series.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jack Guy and Toyin Owoseje contributed reporting.

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