England cricket legend Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff has broken his silence on the horrific accident that left him with severe injuries while filming an episode of BBC programme Top Gear.

The near-fatal crash happened in December last year, when the open-topped three-wheeled car that the presenter was driving at 130mph around the show's test track flipped over. The Morgan Super 3 car was not fitted with an airbag, while Flintoff was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, meaning his face was dragged along the track at speed, leaving him with facial scars as well as several broken ribs.

The 45-year-old has stayed out of the spotlight since the horror incident, having quit the show and returned to cricket. He was seen publicly for the first time last month as he helped lead fielding drills with the England team ahead of their one-day international against New Zealand in Cardiff.

READ MORE: Jonathan Davies: Wales couldn't ask for a better quarter-final draw but Scotland won't make it

Now Flintoff has addressed the crash and aftermath for the first time as he made a touching speech ahead of presenting cricketer Tom Hartley with his England ODI cap on his debut against Ireland last month. A video of the speech was posted on England's X account this week, with the all-rounder describing being part of the squad as being part of "a family", admitting that his teammates had been there for him "in the hardest times" of his life.

"It gives me so much pleasure to share what's going to be a day Tom that you're going to remember for the rest of your life," Flintoff began. "When you get this cap, this changes your life. It's one of those things, it's before and after it. This enables you to walk tall and move faster. Play with passion, play with pride, play with belief.

"And also part of a family of people. They'll share the good times with you, share the successes. But as I found over the past few months, they'll be there for you in the hardest times of your life. They will stand next to you. So, like the lion on the cap Tom, be brave, be, fearless, be proud and enjoy every minute."

Filming of the latest series of Top Gear was suspended following Flintoff's accident, with the BBC issuing an apology to the presenter after he was left waiting 45 minutes for an air ambulance. The Sun has since reported that Flintoff had raised concerns about the safety of driving the vehicle, with a source describing him as "apprehensive" before filming the stunt.

Earlier this week, his friend and former teammate Steve Harmison gave an update on the star and described how his mental health was the reason that he had avoided the media, having gone through "a huge ordeal".

“I saw him during his rehab and his son and my son played cricket together and Andrew was just starting to come out of the house and back into the world,” he told Online Cricket Betting. “For me, that was the hardest part - everybody said it would be great to see him in cricket again, but he didn't want to come out in public. The minute he did, we knew that he really wanted to.

“It was about his own confidence, and it was great to see him back with a smile on his face. He's gone through a hell of a lot, he really has. It was a huge ordeal and nobody can understand what somebody goes through inside.

"Having suffered from mental health issues, I know that people who don't understand will try to give advice, and that can cause more harm than help," Harmison added. "Andrew has probably had loads of people wishing him well and asking how he is, but sometimes that's harmful. Andrew needed his own time, he's taken it, and now he's back. It's brilliant to see. Some of the injuries he had were pretty horrific.”