Freddie Flintoff pictured at first public event 9 months after Top Gear crash

Andrew Flintoff – aka Freddie Flintoff – has made a rare public appearance following his horrific accident last year.

The sportsman was at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens on Friday (September 8) to watch England’s opening one-day international against New Zealand from the home team’s balcony.

Former England captain Freddie, 45, was hospitalised last December after he suffered facial injuries in an accident while shooting for Top Gear at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.

The all-rounder, who played in 79 Tests and 141 one-day matches for England, has kept a low profile since.

But on Friday, he was pictured in England coaching kit on the home balcony.

It is believed to be the first time Freddie has been photographed in public since suffering his injuries.

Freddie is a close friend of England managing director Rob Key and is set to be with the squad for the remainder of the series. It’s understood that the role is unpaid.

He is not due to be with the group for the upcoming World Cup in India.

England captain Jos Buttler said it was ‘great’ to have Freddie around the squad and he had ‘settled in really well’.

Speaking after the hosts’ eight-wicket defeat, he 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.’

The injuries from Freddie’s Top Gear crash, which brought the filming of series 34 to a halt, appeared evident on his face.

A statement from BBC Studios earlier this year said it had ‘concluded its investigation into the accident at the Top Gear Test Track in Surrey last December, which regrettably injured presenter Freddie Flintoff’.

It continued: ‘We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery. Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time.

‘We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year.

‘This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support.’

Freddie ended his international career in 2009 after helping England to an Ashes series victory over Australia before he retired from all forms of the game in 2015.

He went on to launch a career in broadcasting, including featuring on Sky’s A League Of Their Own and BBC’s Top Gear.

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