Cricket: Fletcher slams Flintoff over drinking

LONDON - Former England coach Duncan Fletcher said he had to cancel an Ashes tour practice session last year because captain Andrew Flintoff arrived under the influence of alcohol.

England were thrashed 5-0 by Australia in that series and then performed miserably in the World Cup, where Flintoff was disciplined for drink-related incidents.

Fletcher's comments appeared in today's Daily Mail as part of a serialisation of his autobiography.

"We went to Sydney for a vital match against Australia and a fielding practice was arranged for 10am. Flintoff turned up still under the influence of alcohol," Fletcher wrote.

"Flintoff was in such a state he could not throw properly. He had to pass the ball to the bloke next to him to do so. And when it came to trying to catch the ball I honestly thought I was going to hurt him, so uncoordinated was he.

"I was fuming and stopped the practice early. Remember: this was the England captain in this state. I had to calm down and think what to do."

The coach decided against public censure but warned Flintoff about his behaviour.

He said he then had no alternative to strip him of the vice-captaincy during the World Cup after another drinking session, when several other players were also fined.

Fletcher stood down after the World Cup and was replaced as England coach by Peter Moores.

Flintoff continues to be dogged by ankle problems and is currently in the United States undergoing treatment following a fourth operation.

- REUTERS


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