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June 5, 2007
Andrew Flintoff's drunken escapade after England's first World Cup match at St Lucia destroyed the team's morale and set them up for failure, according to Michael Vaughan. Six members of the squad were caught drinking into the early hours after their loss to New Zealand in March, including Flintoff, who capsized a pedalo and was subsequently stripped of the vice-captaincy.
"We arrived at the World Cup in a positive frame of mind," Vaughan told The Guardian. "But unfortunately incidents happened which affected the team. You have to be honest, the 'Fredalo' incident did affect the team. It did affect morale. Suddenly you've got players who have no freedom left. I like to see players enjoy themselves but no one would dare go out after that incident - and you can't create any spirit then."
Vaughan said it was unfortunate that the late-night episode translated into disappointing performances on the field. "That incident changed the whole atmosphere in the camp," he said. "We went into the New Zealand game with a really good attitude but we didn't play well and after 'Fredalo' we just started taking it all too seriously. That might sound silly but everyone was too tense and desperate. There was no escape - and even on the field you have to be pretty free, especially in one-day cricket."
However, he did not absolve himself of blame in the Caribbean, where England made the Super Eights but failed to progress to the semi-finals after losses to Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia. "I was more tense than I've ever been as a captain," Vaughan said. "Duncan Fletcher was more tense than he'd ever been as a coach. And sometimes the captain and coach have to look at the way they're acting because the team follows.
"I didn't captain as well as I should've done because of the pressure I put myself under. I'd admit that. But I couldn't switch off because away from the field there was so much going on - with Bob Woolmer and 'Fredalo'."
In a wide-ranging interview, Vaughan also said he was unlikely to play at the next World Cup in 2011 and he was "baffled" by his own lack of form in one-day cricket. He believes there is nothing wrong with his limited-overs skills and cannot understand why big scores elude him.
"I always feel form is not down to technique," he said. "It's all about where you are mentally. And there must be something holding me back in one-day cricket. I'm baffled by it. So I'm going to sit down with Peter Moores and come up with what we feel is the best one-day formula because we haven't been successful for a long time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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