Bengaluru, April 19: The cricket World Cup is replete with stories – big and small, honouring as well as embarrassing.
From tales of teams’ fabulous success to individuals’ disastrous fall, you name it and the World Cup brings you examples galore. One of those stories that spoke about a big individual failure was that of the ace but maverick English all-rounder, Andrew Flintoff.
Freddie Flintoff was the hero of England’s historic win in the 2005 Ashes at home and was one of those cricketers the Three Lions looked up to at the mega event in the Caribbeans two years later. Flintoff was even picked as England’s vice-captain to assist Michael Vaughan and was close to captaining his side on the world stage given there was an opportunity.
But what unfolded for him at the WC was sheer shame. England had lost their first game against New Zealand by 6 wickets at Gros Islets and in a group of four, they had to win their remaining two games even if they had come against two less-known teams – Canada and Kenya. Flintoff fell for a golden duck against the Kiwis and then he did something incredible.
The 'Fredalo’ embarrassment for Flintoff
Twenty-nine then, Flintoff went to a marathon drinking spree with team-mates in St Lucia after the loss and had to be rescued by the staff members of a five-star hotel when he fell into the rough waters of the Caribbean Sea after having a run-in with a pedalo.
The cricketer started to be mocked as “Fredalo” after the embarrassment and as a punishment for the irresponsible act, the Lancashire cricketer was stripped of the vice-captaincy and also banned for England’s crucial next game against Canada. He didn’t even travel to the match after getting dropped.
England won that match by 51 runs and then beat Kenya by 7 wickets to advance to the Super Eights. Flintoff returned in the game against Kenya to take two wickets though he was nowhere near his normal batting self in that tournament, highest scoring with 43 against Ireland.
Flintoff recalled the incident later and called it a “real low point”. He said the England fans were shaking their heads over his act and he couldn’t even make eye contact with them.
Five other England players were also fined after they were found out late following the defeat to New Zealand.