Fred­die finds his soft spot

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX -

He tor­mented the Aus­tralian cricket team dur­ing Eng­land’s Ashes vic­tory of 2005, but the An­drew ‘Fred­die’ Flintoff on Nine’s Aus­tralian Ninja War­rior is a changed man.

Swap­ping thun­der­ous bounc­ers for man hugs, the 39-year-old ad­mits he has “mel­lowed” since re­tir­ing from his in­ter­na­tional Test ca­reer seven years ago.

“I think that ag­gres­sive side is gone,” Ninja’s touchy-feely side­line eye says. “When I stopped play­ing, two years later I still wanted to be a crick­eter and still wanted to play. Now I wouldn’t say I’ve got soft, but I’ve mel­lowed a hell of a lot.”

His Lan­cashire ac­cent might see some view­ers strug­gle to un­der­stand the for­mer Eng­land cap­tain, but there’s no deny­ing his en­thu­si­asm for the se­ries.

But watch­ing oth­ers take on the phys­i­cal chal­lenge of Ninja’s ob­sta­cle course was enough for Flintoff, who wasn’t tempted to join them in ac­tion.

“My shirt is firmly on, the abs are just pop­ping out,” he jokes, “[but] you look at [the course] and you start work­ing out how you’d tackle it.”

Flintoff signed on for the se­ries which his own chil­dren hil­dren — daugh­ter Ho Holly, y, 12,, and sons Corey, y, 11, and Rocky, 9 — cite ass a favourite pro­gram to o watch.

“Whenn I told the kids there was a chance I’d d be do­ing it, they weree like ‘yeah, go do it’. What at they found in Eng­land was that fam­i­lies lies would sit around and nd watch it to­gether, , and there’s very­ery few shows ws you can do that.”

WATCH AUS­TRALIAN IAN NINJA WAR­RIOR, R, NINE, SUN­DAY, 7PM

/ HOLLYOLLY BYRNES

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