He is close friends with Rob Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, and has gradually returned to the public eye this summer, attending several days of the Ashes series as a spectator, although on those occasions he sought to shield the extend of his injuries from the cameras.
Flintoff arrived in Cardiff overnight and was involved in fielding drills during England’s eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand on Friday. He was also seen wearing an England bucket hat while chatting to fellow coaching staff on the dressing-room balcony.
“He’s been starting to do some stuff in cricket,” said Jos Buttler, England’s captain who briefly played alongside Flintoff when he made a comeback for Lancashire in the T20 Blast in 2014. “It’s just great for him to be around.
“He’s obviously an England legend and it’s just nice to have him around the group,” Buttler added. “He’s not been brought in with any specific role, just to be around and observe. A few of the lads can pick his brains a little bit and he’s settled in really well.”
Flintoff’s involvement is not expected to last beyond the fourth ODI at Lord’s next week and he will not travel to the World Cup in India next month.
He has had limited involvement in cricket since leaving the game as a player, beyond occasional work as a broadcaster and commentator.
Last year, the BBC aired a documentary he filmed called Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams, in which he formed a cricket team from a group of underprivileged teenagers in Preston.