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Andrew Flintoff smiles and signs autographs for fans as he coaches England cricket team after horror Top Gear crash

ANDREW 'FREDDIE' FLINTOFF was all smiles as he signed autographs for fans on his return to cricket earlier this week.

The England legend was pictured in public for the first time since his horrific Top Gear accident ahead of the Three Lions' one-day international against New Zealand at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens.

Wearing a bucket hat and sunglasses, he appeared happy to assist England's coaching staff throughout the day.

And he even took some time out to sign autographs.

Flintoff, 45, was seen signing bucket hats, note pads and mini cricket bats for a group of young fans.

He also stopped to take a few selfies with spectators.

Nine months on from the horrific accident that left him with facial injuries and broken ribs, Flintoff is making a gradual return to cricket.

The 2005 Ashes hero has been re-introduced to the England set-up to assist players and members of the coaching team ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

Speaking about Flintoff's new role, captain Jos Buttler said: "So he’s been starting to do some stuff in cricket.

"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.


"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. It’s great to have him with us. Just for this series."

According to The Daily Mail, Flintoff has been so keen to return to the sport that he has not sought any money for his role this week.

The cricket star-turned-presenter received an incredible welcome back to the sport by fans earlier this week.

SunSport columnist Piers Morgan led the tributes, tweeting: "Brilliant to see Freddie @flintoff11 back with the England team today, after that horrendous Top Gear car smash."

Flintoff suffered facial injuries and broken ribs in a near-fatal car accident while filming a segment for Top Gear in December.

After crashing a three-wheeled open-top car at 130mph he was forced to wait 45 minutes for an air ambulance before being taken to hospital, where he spent the following five weeks.

The BBC have since apologised to him, and the crew that were on site at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, for the accident.