Cumbes says Vaughan's comments 'despicable'
Jim Cumbes, the Lancashire chief executive, has described Michael Vaughan's criticism of Andrew Flintoff as "despicable".
In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian Vaughan had said that Flintoff's drunken escapade after England's first match of the World Cup affected team morale. But Cumbes, who has watched Flintoff's progress through the Lancashire ranks, is furious at Vaughan's public criticism of England's talisman.
"I think it is completely out of order, I think it's despicable, I think it stinks against a guy (Flintoff) who has given blood for England these past three or four years," Cumbes said. "He was the talisman in the Ashes series in 2005...this fella has given blood for England and I think it is appalling he's been treated in this fashion."
Flintoff was stripped of the vice-captaincy and dropped for one game after a night of late drinking, which saw him ending up in a pedalo out in the sea in the early hours of the morning, after England's opening group game defeat against New Zealand in St Lucia in March. The incident was dubbed 'Fredalo' by the tabloids. And Vaughan said "those incidents are bound to affect team spirit. Suddenly you've got players who have no freedom left."
"Fred knows he stepped out of line," Cumbes said. "Everybody steps out of line from time to time. You just get on with it. You don't blast it out across the airwaves or into newspapers, particularly if it's something like this. You help your mates, you don't shoot them down."
Cumbes contrasted Vaughan's behaviour with that of Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, who is known for ensuring his criticism of players stays in-house.
"Up the road here, there are plenty of players who've played badly for him (Ferguson) over the years. I tell you what, the public doesn't know about it but the players certainly know about it."
Cumbes went on to say that Flintoff, sidelined after a third operation on his injured left ankle, may not attend the third Test - on his home ground at Old Trafford - given his state of mind after Vaughan's statements.
"Fred won't bear any malice because he's not that type of guy but clearly he will be hurt by it," Cumbes said. "Under normal circumstances Fred's a team man and he'll turn up for his team, come to show his support and keep the spirit in the dressing room going. He's going to find that difficult."
England, who lead the series 1-0, take on West Indies for the third Test on Thursday.