Freddie Flintoff was "bullied at school" for playing cricket.

Freddie Flintoff was bullied at school for playing cricket

Freddie Flintoff was bullied at school for playing cricket

The 44-year-old star - who went on to play for England - has compared the bullying he received during his school days to that of ballet dancer Billy Elliot in the 2000 film, which starred Jamie Bell and Julie Walters.

He said: "At both the schools I went to, cricket was just not on the radar. I got so much stick for playing cricket, bullied even, it was almost like Billy Elliot – except he had it easier being a ballet dancer."

The 'Lord of the Fries' presenter - who was state school educated - is now fronting a new documentary series which will see him heading into schools in his hometown of Preston, Lancashire, to introduce cricket to a new generation of youngsters.

He claims the game is "elitist" because the majority of players have been privately educated, but admitted he took a "weird pleasure" in beating them on the pitch.

He told the Radio Times magazine: "When you look at the England team, when we started this process a year ago, it was 60/40 public school to state school kids. But only 7 per cent of kids go to private school. That makes it elitist. I had my bat I bought for £21.50 and my Auntie Joan bought my pads from Hamleys toy shop.

"You’re playing against all these private school kids who’ve got all the gear. I took this weird pleasure in beating them.

"When I look back on my life, I think that if I didn’t have cricket, what would I have done? Who would I be? I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time."