Vaughan claims he was misquoted over Flintoff
Michael Vaughan has insisted he was misquoted in an interview with The Guardian on Tuesday, which appeared to claim that the notorious drinking binge in St Lucia, that culminated in Flintoff's 4am Pedalo excursion, had damaged the side. "You have to be honest: the 'Fredalo' incident did affect the team," he was quoted as saying. "It did affect morale. 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."
Now, however, Vaughan claims he was misquoted. "I never used the word 'Fredalo'," said Vaughan. "As soon as you mention that, you are pinpointing one person. I'll be having dinner with him in an hour's time. It [the article] has been blown out of all proportion. One word changed the whole context of the article, a word which I didn't say."
The article has made waves not only in Fleet Street but all around the world, with the inference of a split in an England camp that has kept its counsel well all throughout a traumatic winter campaign. But Vaughan is keen to shoulder more of the blame for the way the World Cup panned out. "Incredibly in the piece, it didn't mention I openly admitted that I didn't captain as well as I can, I didn't manage the situation as well as I could and I didn't play as well as I could," he said. "So if I was blaming anyone for a World Cup fiasco, I was blaming Michael Vaughan."
"We are good mates," added Vaughan, who shares an agent with Flintoff. "I have a huge amount of respect for Andrew Flintoff." But when asked who would be paying for their lunch, Vaughan replied: "Probably me."
The saga is unlikely to evaporate that quickly, however, especially now that Jim Cumbes, the chief executive of Flintoff's county, Lancashire, has come out to brand Vaughan's statement as "despicable". And, as a Yorkshire captain leading his team out at Old Trafford tomorrow, Vaughan shouldn't be expecting a reception to rank alongside the one he received on this same ground two years ago, when he scored 166 against the Australians. "We always get a great response here," he said, "and I hope to get the same response this time."