Ashes tour was like booze cruise: Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff has likened England's disastrous 2006-07 Ashes tour of Australia to a "booze cruise".

updated: September 21, 2009 15:36 IST
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Andrew Flintoff has likened England's disastrous 2006-07 Ashes tour of Australia to a "booze cruise" and revealed how he smashed his own bat in despair as the tourists headed for a 5-0 whitewash.

The all-rounder, who retired from Test cricket after helping England regain the Ashes last month, has also admitted that his relationship with former England coach Duncan Fletcher had broken down before Fletcher disciplined him for his infamous booze-fuelled escapade on a pedalo during the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

In an updated edition of his autobiography, serialised in the Daily Mail, Flintoff describes how feeling "massively isolated" as captain of an under-performing England squad in Australia had resulted in him venting his frustration on his own kit.

"The problems had really started when we were defeated in Adelaide to go 2-0 down," he writes. "I was in a bit of a muddle and didn't really know how to get out of it."

The 31-year-old adds: "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."

Flintoff also admitted to turning up for a morning nets session still suffering from a night on the tiles.

"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."

England headed from Australia to the World Cup and it was there that the pedalo incident occurred, although Flintoff claims versions of the incident in which he had to be rescued as he drifted out to sea were inaccurate.

"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 writes.

"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."

Fletcher reacted furiously to the incident and Flintoff admitted he had never seen eye-to-eye with the coach.

"As far as Duncan and I are concerned, 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 writes. "We had completely different views on life; the relationship didn't work and it came to an abrupt end after the World Cup."