4 July 2022

Sporting legend Freddie Flintoff takes on his toughest challenge yet: creating a cricket team from scratch with reluctant teenagers from his hometown of Preston - and one of them is our very own Year 11 Priory leaver, Umar!

Umar will be a hit on your television screens next week as he shows off his cricketing prowess. He is taking part in a TV programme where he is coached by former England and Lancashire all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, now a presenter. 

The programme is a BBC One series called 'Freddie Flintoff's Field of Dreams' where ‘Freddie’ will put together his own side in a bid to change people’s perspective of the sport. 

From Preston, the former England international visited under-privileged parts of Lancashire to find 11 teenagers for his side who will be called ‘Freddie’s First Eleven.’ 

It was for teenagers who had not considered the sport before and is challenging the idea that cricket is a game for the posh, privileged and the privately-educated as Andrew broke the mould, being state-educated.

“I liked watching and playing cricket and I was involved with the BYDS Youth Club in Broadgate and got selected from there,” said Umar. 

“They said they wanted to do a documentary about cricket and give people like me an opportunity which I might not otherwise have. It was filmed every Tuesday at Preston College. We were trained by Andrew Flintoff, who is really down-to-earth, and Kyle Hogg as well. They taught us different types of cricketing skills and it has been really good. I would say now I am a bit of an all-rounder. The idea is for our team of teenagers to play against league teams made up of people around our own age.

"I have been interviewed a lot for the programme and they have been to my house and interviewed my family as well."

Freddie said: "Cricket is not an easy sport and some of the boys had never picked up a bat before. I was also dealing with kids who thought it was posh and boring so I had to change their minds. I got far more invested in the boys' lives than I thought I would but I care more about them as people than their cricketing ability at the end of the day. It was definitely worth it."

Tags: PE & Sport Year 11