x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Andrew Flintoff leaves Dubai home for UK

Former England cricketer says he has not shut the door on Dubai, despite moving back to Surrey in the UK.

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, pictured with his wife, Rachel, says he has not shut the door on Dubai, despite moving back to Surrey in the UK.
Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, pictured with his wife, Rachel, says he has not shut the door on Dubai, despite moving back to Surrey in the UK.

DUBAI // The former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff has not shut the door on Dubai despite moving back to the UK, and may still play a promotional role during next year's England-Pakistan series in the UAE.

"Freddie" Flintoff left Dubai for a country home in Surrey this year saying he did not want his children to take the sunshine for granted.

He had been working for Falcon and Associates, a company set up to promote Dubai, for an undisclosed fee.

The company yesterday said leaving the UAE would be no barrier to Flintoff continuing as a sports ambassador for the emirate during the England-Pakistan series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi next January and February.

"Falcon and Associates does maintain a relationship with Andrew Flintoff which enables us to engage with him as and when appropriate on different sporting initiatives," a Falcon spokesman said.

"A potential example could be the England cricket matches in Dubai next year."

But the spokesman stressed plans were not confirmed as Flintoff's contract is expected to expire at the end of this year.

Flintoff's agent was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The sportsman arrived in Dubai soon after retiring from Test cricket after England's 2009 Ashes victory.

What began as a plan to nurse a knee injury for six months turned into a longer-term commitment when he signed up with Falcon contract.

Flintoff told the UK weekly magazine Hello that he had lived in relative luxury in Dubai.

"As if a lad from Preston was living on the Palm [Jumeirah] with my own swimming pool!" he was quoted as saying. "It wasn't bad. It was sunny all the time but I really missed England and everything I wanted to do was here."

But it would be good for his children, Holly, Corey and Rocky, to grow up in the English countryside, Flintoff said.

He saidin January last year that his family was enjoying life in Dubai and regularly went camping in the desert.

During his stay, Flintoff played little part in developing local cricket.

Mahzar Khan, an administrator of the Emirates Cricket Board, which oversees the local league, said he did not know what role Flintoff was playing in Dubai.

"Unfortunately, I didn't interact with him," Mr Khan said.

Pakistan and England will play three Tests, four one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches in the UAE because of security fears on the subcontinent.

mcroucher@thenational.ae