Flintoff is disciplined by ECB for missing weekend bus trip

All-rounder with history of getting into trouble fails to attend team visit to war sites

England's Ashes campaign was unsettled before it started yesterday when Andrew Flintoff was reprimanded for a misdemeanour during the weekend visit to First World War sites. Flintoff failed to make the journey to the trenches near Ypres on Saturday morning after missing the team bus. Along with the other players he had attended a private team dinner the night before.

The weekend gathering in Flanders was organised, in the words of the team director Andy Flower, as "part of ongoing efforts designed to broaden horizons and learn more about the role of leadership and team ethics". Flintoff attended a team strategy meeting later in the morning but his absence from the visit to the field where the Battle of Passchendaele was fought was at least embarrassing.

"We can confirm that Andrew did miss the team bus and the matter has been dealt with internally," said an England team spokesman. "We feel that is the appropriate response."

There is no question of Flintoff having misbehaved or of any member of the public complaining about him but his absence raised eyebrows, not least among his colleagues. Flintoff has been no stranger to trouble, often created by his fondness for a pint.

He lost the vice-captaincy of the one-day team after his infamous small hours attempt to set sail on a pedalo in St Lucia during the 2007 World Cup. During the Ashes tour which preceded it he turned up for practice before a one-day match still apparently the worse for wear from the previous evening.

The latest peccadillo will have irritated his colleagues and was disrespectful to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which acted as host. When Andrew Strauss assumed the captaincy in January he talked persuasively of giving the players the responsibility to prepare for matches in their own personal fashions.

It will not be lost on the England and Wales Cricket Board that Australia sent home their all-rounder Andrew Symonds from the recent World Twenty20 after he breached team drinking guidelines.

Flintoff, who had visited the Tyne Cot cemetery last Friday afternoon, played his part yesterday in the squad's media session ahead of England's three-day match with Warwickshire, starting tomorrow. He has just overcome the latest in a litany of injuries, this one to a knee, and seemed fresh as a daisy.

"This match is the final piece of the preparation for the team and for me as well," said the man who played a huge part, with bat and especially ball, in the 2005 series but could do nothing to prevent an Australian whitewash just 18 months later.

"It's now eight weeks since the knee operation and I've been working hard with Rooster [faithful personal physio Dave Roberts] and hopefully all that's behind me now and I can just keep maintaining my fitness. I've played two championship games and three Twenty20s for Lancashire and I'm pleased with where I'm at. But this last game is vitally important, obviously for form but also to bowl a few more overs and hopefully to get some runs."

As has generally been the case after every injury, Flintoff quickly slipped back into his bowling boots. But, just as predictably, runs refused to fly off his bat – until he belted 93 off 41 balls during a Twenty20 thrash against Derbyshire. With one bound Fred was free? Well, we'll see. The main thing, though, is for him to look as fit on Friday night as he did yesterday in Birmingham. Then it should be all systems go for Cardiff.

"I think I've done something like two years' rehab since 2005," said Flintoff. "It's been tough but the reason you do it is to put that England shirt back on and to get the chance to play in an Ashes series.

"I'm not far away from that now. You can have any other tournament you want but for an Englishman – and I'm sure I can speak for the Aussies as well – to get a chance to play in the Ashes is everything."

Flintoff is unlikely to be given the new ball, this week or next, because Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have solid claims to open the bowling. And, asked about a batting spot, he joked about going in at No 3 before accepting that No 7 was the height of his current expectations.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve