ANDREW ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is one of England’s greatest Test cricketers – and was instrumental in the unforgettable 2005 Ashes series.
In his 11 years playing for the national team, the former Lancashire all-rounder helped his country out of the doldrums and to glory – and now he’s back hosting ITV’s new show Cannonball with former singer Frankie Bridge.
Who is Andrew Flintoff and why is he nicknamed ‘Freddie’?
Andrew Flintoff was born in Preston, Lancashire and was the son of a factory maintenance worker who captained Dutton Forshaw second XI cricket team.
He performed well academically, gaining nine GCSE’s, but chose to leave school at 16.
Flintoff made his test debut against Pakistan in 1998, at the age of 20, but at county level he remained extremely inconsistent.
Flintoff earned the nickname ‘Freddie’ from his coach at Lancashire second XI, John Stanworth, due to his surname’s similarity to that of Fred Flintstone.
What were Freddie Flintoff’s greatest England moments?
After an inconsistent start, Flintoff had England fans believing he really could become an all-time great when he hit 142 against South Africa at Lords in 2003.
Then in the 2005 Ashes he was the outstanding performer with ball and bat in England’s famous two-run victory over Australia.
He hit nine sixes in three days (including one that landed in his dad’s lap!) and dismissed Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting in one of the greatest overs ever bowled.
In 2008, against the West Indies, the larger-than-life cricketer hilariously shouted “mind the windows Tino”, before bowling out Tino Best the next ball.
Before retiring in 2009, Flintoff helped England to regain the Ashes with one of his greatest series performances.
In the second test at Lords, Flintoff took five wickets to give England a 1-0 series lead.
He then bowled Ricky Ponting out on the way to victory in the final test at The Oval and a 2-1 series win.
What was the ‘Fredalo’ incident?
After England’s defeat against New Zealand in their opening match of the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, Flintoff and other squad members went out drinking in a nightclub.
The all-rounder then had to be rescued after failing in an attempt to board a pedalo in the Caribbean.
It was later revealed by coach Duncan Fletcher that Flintoff had had a number of previous warnings about his behaviour.
England later went out in the early stages with team-mate Michael Vaughan claiming the attention surrounding the Fredalo incident had resulted in players tensing up.
What has Flintoff done since retiring from cricket?
In 2010 he became a captain on Sky1 series A League Of Their Own.
And he has since been guest commentator at a number of global darts events.
In 2014 he came out of retirement briefly to play for Lancashire in the Natwest T20 Blast series, where they narrowly lost in the final to Birmingham Bears.
And a year later he was crowned King of the Jungle in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
But perhaps most notable of all was his short-lived boxing career.
He fought one fight, beating Richard Dawson in a much-maligned bout, before hanging up his gloves.
His next job, however, is to host the new ITV entertainment show Cannonball.
What is Cannonball, and when does it start?
Cannonball is a new entertainment show featuring plucky contestants trying their best against a course of water-based challenges, hosted by Flintoff and The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge.
Each week 24 contestants will face challenges in a custom-built water park, including tackling a giant swing and a launching themselves cannonball-style at a target.
Crazy tasks include attempting the highest and longest jumps possible off massive water slides in fancy dress.
A source said: “Cannonball is a wacky idea for a show but it promises to be funny. It involves people throwing themselves around in a swimming pool and making fools of themselves.”
There will be ten episodes, a Christmas special and a Splash Hits show featuring the highlights from filming.
Cannonball started on Saturday, September 2, at 7pm on ITV.
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