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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 08:57 GMT
Flintoff 'was drunk at practice'
Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff is currently recuperating after undergoing ankle surgery
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has said a training session was cancelled because Andrew Flintoff was under the influence of alcohol.

The incident happened during last winter's Ashes tour to Australia where Flintoff was captain.

Fletcher told the Daily Mail: "You just hope the players do not let you down. Sadly Flintoff did.

"We arranged a fielding practice in Sydney. He turned up still under the influence of alcohol."

Flintoff's agent Neil Fairbrother refused to comment on the revelations and the 29-year-old England star has gone to the USA before starting his rehabilitation from an ankle operation in Holland earlier this month.

Fletcher added: "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.

"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."

Fletcher revealed he seriously considered dropping Flintoff but eventually decided against it to avoid negative publicity.

But he said that Flintoff disappointed him with his World Cup drinking antics.


Flintoff fell off a pedalo and was one of six England players fined following a drinking session after England's defeat to New Zealand in St Lucia.

The all-rounder had also been warned as to his future conduct during the Ashes defeat when he was England captain.

"I supported Andrew but he let me down in an area that he had real control over," he said.

He was sacked as England vice-captain at the World Cup and banned for a game after the pedalo incident following the six-wicket defeat to New Zealand.

England then failed to progress beyond the Super Eight stage at the World Cup in the West Indies, prompting Fletcher to resign.

I spent two years (coaching) in county cricket and I'd like to do that again

Duncan Fletcher

"I've supported a lot of players but Andrew drank again at the World Cup after what had happened in Australia while I was taking a pasting," Fletcher continued.

"I don't regret making him captain.

"The problem was, in the absence of Michael Vaughan, there were so many unknowns.

"It's fascinating to wonder how good (Andrew) Strauss might have been as captain.

"But an imponderable is, how bad might Fred (Flintoff) have been with the whole drinking thing if he hadn't had the responsibility of the captaincy? And would he have taken Steve Harmison with him?"

The Zimbabwe-born coach is also hoping for a return to county cricket, having been at Glamorgan before taking up his post with England.

"I spent two years in county cricket and I'd like to do that again," he said.

"I think I have become a hell of a better coach since my time at Glamorgan and I know how to handle situations better.

"Having gained the experience I gained with England, it would be nice to go back and put into practice what I perceive to be missing in county cricket."

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