Ashes tour was like a 'booze cruise', says Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff has described the 2006/07 Ashes tour of Australia, when England were thrashed 5-0, as being like a “booze cruise”.
The all-rounder, who retired from Test cricket following this year’s Ashes series win, made the claim in his latest autobiography Ashes to Ashes, serialised in the Daily Mail.
“I was the captain of a team heading for a 5-0 Ashes whitewash,” wrote Flintoff, who was handed the skipper’s job after Michael Vaughan was injured.
“Relationships were becoming strained ... I felt massively isolated.
“The problems had really started when we were defeated in Adelaide to go 2-0 down. I was in a bit of a muddle and didn’t really know how to get out of it.
“My head had gone, probably with what had happened in the Ashes.
The frustration was bubbling inside of me. I exploded.
“My bat was leaning against the bench in the dressing room, and I put my foot through it and broke it—not the most intelligent thing to do.
“The upshot was I turned up for nets the next day not in the best of shape, although I wouldn’t say I was as bad as coach Duncan Fletcher has said I was.
“I’m not going to try to make excuses because I know I shouldn’t have arrived for training smelling of booze. It was unprofessional but it was indicative of my state of mind at the time.
“I wasn’t the only one, I hasten to add, and it wasn’t just the players—most of the support staff were at it more than we were. It was like being on a booze cruise.”
Flintoff also gave details of the infamous “pedalo incident” during England’s less-than-impressive 2007 World Cup campaign in the West Indies, but said he did not, as reports at the time claimed, need to be rescued.
The all-rounder was stripped of his vice-captaincy in the wake of the incident, which followed a late-night drinking binge.
“Not long after I arrived at the club, I realised I’d had enough to drink and slipped out, intending to walk back to the hotel,” he explains.
“Instead of walking down the road, I decided it would be nicer down the beach and come into the hotel from the back. A row of kayaks caught my eye, but none of them had any oars.
“Next to them were some pedalos, and I remember dragging one to the edge of the water—presumably because I fancied a ride. But for the life of me, I couldn’t work out how to get on it—or my legs into it—so I let go of it, and it quickly drifted away from the shore.
“I think I slipped and fell over in a few inches of water, but nothing more.”
Flintoff played a pivotal role in England’s Ashes victory under Duncan Fletcher in 2005 but said they struggled to develop a working relationship when he was captain.
“It was a case of two people who didn’t get on being thrown together for eight months of the year as part of the England cricket team,” he said.
“We had completely different views on life; the relationship didn’t work and it came to an abrupt end after the World Cup.”—Reuters