Andrew Flintoff was at Old Trafford today to talk about his future with Lancashire after signing a new three-year contract to play one-day cricket for his home county earlier in the week
And there seemed to be one thing that was dominating the 31 year-old’s thoughts. Trophies.
“I’ve only won two medals with Lancashire, and I’ve been at this club for a long time. I want to add to that,” said the 31 year-old this morning, just hours after jetting into Manchester from his training base in Dubai.
“I had a great time at the end of the 90's when we won the Sunday League twice and the NatWest Trophy at Lord's. They were great days, and I would like to see them come back.
“We haven’t won anything for a while, but next year we are in a position to challenge. Over the last few years, they’ve (Lancashire) made great strides forward, and I want to enhance the team.”
But his hunger for honours isn’t just limited to domestic honours, the Preston-born ace is also keen to help England improve in both forms of one-day cricket.
“We’ve been successful at Test level,” continued the two-time Ashes winner, now retired from the five-day stuff. “But at one-day level, we’ve underachieved, we’ve lacked consistency. I want to try and take that forward, I want to be at the forefront of that.
“There are World Cups, Twenty20 World Cups, there are plenty of competitions to go at. I want to win more medals. I won the Ashes twice, but I would love to have a World Cup in the cabinet next to it.”
Flintoff’s passion for Lancashire is plain to see: “I’ve been at this club since I was nine,” he continued. “I don’t want to play anywhere else in county cricket. I thank the club for the support they have shown me in the past, but now it would be nice to give something back.
“I’ve not played for them for seven or eight years due to central contracts, so it would be nice to win a trophy here.”
But, as he goes on to admit, there is plenty of work to be done before he can start to think seriously about that. He has got a right knee operation to recover from, something which seems to be going smoothly at the moment.
Freddie went under the knife straight after the fifth Test of the most recent Ashes series at the Oval. It has been nearly 12 weeks.
He has since based himself in Dubai to get some sun on his back and aid in his rehab, but he will see his surgeon before flying back out to the Middle East on Thursday.
“At the minute I am working with a couple of people in Dubai, Dr Charles Jones and Physio Lacey,” he explained. “I’ve seen the physio for an hour a day, doing the relevant exercises for my knee.
“I can’t run yet, but I’ve started gentle cycling and spent a lot of time in the pool. Hopefully, when I see the surgeon I can progress more and start running again. I’ve hated running all the way through my career, but when you can’t do it you miss it.
“Before the op and soon after, I said that I’d like to go on tour with the one-day squad to Bangladesh (in February). That might be unrealistic. I want to get back as soon as I can, but I can’t put a date on it yet.
“I’ve been off crutches for a week and a half to two weeks.”
Flintoff is contracted to play 40-over and Twenty20 cricket for Lancashire, but he has not ruled out making the odd County Championship appearance if he is needed.
“That is something that I will discuss with Peter, Mike and Glen,” he said. “This past season the club have had a few problems with injuries, they had to get Tom (Lungley) on loan from Derby.
“If there is a situation where I can help them out, knee being ok, I’d like to.”
Lancashire coach Peter Moores said: “If you speak to any coach, if you could have somebody to pick for a one-day side, Fred would be the sort of bloke you would go for. It will be fantastic.
And cricket director Mike Watkinson added: “He’s a great inspiration. We pride ourselves on our youth system, converting young players into international cricketers. Fred is an example of what can be achieved with hard work.”
Photo: Clint Hughes
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd