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September 22, 2009

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Flintoff likens Ashes tour to 'booze cruise'

ANDREW Flintoff has described the 2006/07 Ashes tour of Australia, when England was thrashed 0-5, as being like a "booze cruise".

The allrounder, who retired from test cricket following this year's Ashes series win, made the claim in his latest autobiography "Ashes to Ashes", serialized 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 0-2 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 2007 World Cup campaign in the West Indies. The allrounder 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 realized I'd had enough to drink and slipped out - intending to walk back to the hotel," he explains. "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."


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