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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 11:13 GMT
Vaughan rejects discipline fears
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport in St Lucia

Michael Vaughan
Vaughan again failed to turn a good start into a big score
Captain Michael Vaughan has denied there is an alcohol problem within the England squad after Andrew Flintoff was dropped as vice-captain.

"I don't see a drinking culture within this England team. I see a bit of immaturity and a lack of common sense.

"But I see a lot of young guys who work very hard, they're very fit and it was just a mistake they made," he said.

Flintoff missed the game against Canada and five others were fined, reportedly after a Friday night drinking session.

Vaughan's predecessor as captain, Nasser Hussain was more damning about the team's behaviour. He said: "Something of a drinking culture has crept back into the side.

"Freddie dragged six or seven players out with him on this occasion and the management said enough is enough."

Without their star all-rounder, England limped to a 51-run victory over the North American side in World Cup Group C on Sunday.

It's not as if Andrew Flintoff has not been performing on the field. I'm sure most of this has been blown out of all proportion

Matthew Hoggard

"We knew we had lost a big game against New Zealand, we knew we had to play Canada on Sunday, we know how hard it is to play two games in this heat," said Vaughan.

"We just didn't use common sense. All the players are bitterly disappointed with their actions. They want to tell all England supporters how sorry they are."

Vaughan said of the win over Canada: "Hopefully a victory here, winning next Saturday and a decent run in the World Cup will be the only way we can say sorry to the supporters.

"We're first to admit there were areas of our batting we need to work on, areas of our fielding and some of our bowling was a bit erratic.

"But the most important thing was winning."

606: DEBATE
MT

England need to beat Kenya next Saturday to be sure of progressing to the second round stage, known as the Super Eight.

And Vaughan stressed the need for the players, and Flintoff in particular, to move on from the affair if the team are to succeed in the World Cup.

"Kenya on Saturday will be a hard game and we've got to try and draw a line under this and unite as a team," he added.

"I know in the next few days [Flintoff is] going to have a lot of media attention.

"It's up to us to get his focus back onto cricket and make sure he plays well against Kenya next Saturday."

Meanwhile, Test bowler Matthew Hoggard told BBC Five Live he did not believe the England World Cup squad had a discipline problem.

He said: "It's not as if Andrew Flintoff has not been performing on the field. I'm sure most of this has been blown out of all proportion.

"It's part and parcel of professional sport. The fans have paid a lot of money and they deserve the people they come to watch (to be in shape).

"But they like celebrating with us and being near us. Mobile phones with cameras on and emails make it quite dangerous, so you have to be on your best behaviour when you're out and representing your country."

SEE ALSO
Flintoff sorry for boozy antics
19 Mar 07 |  England
Flintoff sacked as vice-captain
18 Mar 07 |  England
England do enough to beat Canada
18 Mar 07 |  Cricket
England - Players to watch
14 Feb 07 |  England
World Cup form guide - England
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
England World Cup squad
15 Feb 07 |  England


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