London:England allrounder Andrew Flintoff turned up drunk to practice while captaining the tour to Australia, former England coach Duncan Fletcher said.
The incident in Sydney during the one-day series involving Australia and New Zealand at the start of this year nearly saw Flintoff stripped of the captaincy.
But it was only one of several recent incidents involving alcohol and Flintoff described by Fletcher in his autobiography "Behind the Shades" that was serialized in 'The Daily Mail' on Monday.
Fletcher quit after eight years in charge in April, after England's lackluster World Cup campaign in the Caribbean, which was affected by Flintoff's drunken escapade in St Lucia, when he needed to be rescued by hotel staff from a small pedal boat in the sea in the early hours of March 16.
Fletcher said the worse incident was in Sydney, when Flintoff turned up in the morning to fielding practice still under the influence of alcohol.
"Flintoff was in such a state he could not throw properly," Fletcher said. "When it came to him 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."
Fletcher said he decided against dropping Flintoff because of the pressure he was under after England lost the Ashes 5-0. England won the Sydney match by 92 runs on Feb 2.
"We went on to win the series - would we have done so if I had dropped him? Who knows," Fletcher said.
Fletcher said also he was told that, after a one-day match, Flintoff was up until 7 am the following day drinking with former England captain Ian Botham, who was working as a television commentator.
He also said Flintoff and fast bowler Steve Harmison were in the Australia locker room until midnight drinking after losing the second Ashes test in Adelaide.
England had been in a good position heading into the final day in Adelaide, but collapsed to lose by six wickets on Dec 5.
"He (Flintoff) had made a commitment to the team before Adelaide that he was going to lead from the front in terms of aggression, but he had not simply fulfilled it," Fletcher said. "He lost some respect from the players because of that."
Flintoff, who was captain in Australia because of injury to Michael Vaughan, has not played test cricket since the Ashes, but was in four of the seven one-day matches against India in England. He is now recovering from an Oct 12 operation on his left ankle.