Flintoff has been accused of his recent comments against people in Burnley. He was praising the recent tour of Preston, his home town, by Prince William and Kate Middleton and used the opportunity for a little oneupmanship on the rival Lancashire town of Burnley, which the Royal couple did not visit but whose famous sons include the actor Sir Ian McKellen.

He then compared its residents to the Dingles, the troubled family from the television soap Emmerdale, which includes murderers, arsonists and kidnappers, but this was not judged too harshly.

It was when he said people from Burnley had “six fingers” that he prompted an angry fightback and demands for an apology from disability representatives.