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Flintoff sacked as vice-captain
March 18, 2007 18:54 IST
Last Updated: March 18, 2007 22:43 IST
England's Andrew Flintoff was sacked as World Cup vice-captain and dropped for their Group C game against Canada on Sunday after a late-night drinking session.
However, team management decided against sending the 29-year-old all-rounder home after the incident on Friday night following their six-wicket defeat by New Zealand.
British newspapers had reported on Sunday that Flintoff was seen inebriated in the small hours. Reports said he had to be rescued from the sea after falling off a pedalo.
A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said five other players had also been fined for breaching discipline.
It added that this was not the first time that Flintoff, considered one of the world's greatest all-rounders and a key figure in their famous 2005 Ashes win over Australia, had been involved in such an episode.
"Andrew Flintoff has been given warnings about his conduct and disciplined for previous incidents of this nature," England head coach Duncan Fletcher was quoted as saying in the statement.
"In light of this and due to the serious nature of the incident which he was involved in at the hotel on Friday night, we have decided to take further disciplinary action against him.
"Andrew has been made fully aware of the team management's concerns and the fact that the ECB considers this type of behaviour to be totally unacceptable.
"He will remain with the World Cup squad and be available for selection for our next match against Kenya.
"All players involved wish to express their sincere regret for the embarrassment caused to their team mates, the England supporters and the ECB."
The others disciplined were James Anderson, Ian Bell, Jon Lewis, Paul Nixon and Liam Plunkett, said the statement.
The ECB added that Flintoff would not be considered for the England captaincy should Michael Vaughan be injured at any stage during the tournament.
Flintoff is known as a big drinker but has shed weight and cut his drinking significantly in recent years.
However, he was famously hungover on the team's open-top bus as England celebrated their 2005 Ashes win through the streets of London.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain slammed Flintoff's behaviour.
"There is a history to this story. It is not the first time. In Australia he had three or four warnings about his drinking," Hussain said on Sky Sports while commentating at the ground.
"Is that the best preparation to go out drinking till 3 am in this heat? I say well done England finally for having strong management."
All-rounder Ravi Bopara replaced Flintoff in England's line-up against Canada, which was otherwise unchanged from the New Zealand match.
England play Kenya on Saturday, March 24 in their final group match. If they lost on Sunday to Canada or against Kenya they would be eliminated from the tournament.
The seven-week World Cup culminates in the final on April 28 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
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