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March 18, 2007
Michael Vaughan insisted England did not have a drinking culture, despite the late-night incidents that led to the fining of six players and Andrew Flintoff's dumping from the side. Flintoff was also stripped of the vice-captaincy for the World Cup after allegedly capsizing a pedalo at 4am on Saturday in the hours following England's six-wicket loss to New Zealand.
James Anderson, Ian Bell, Jon Lewis, Paul Nixon and Liam Plunkett were fined by team management for drinking into the early hours of the same morning, while Flintoff was fined and dropped for England's match against Canada, which they won by 51 runs. Nasser Hussain, Vaughan's predecessor as captain, hinted at a drinking problem within the squad but Vaughan said the episode was a one-off.
"I don't see a drinking culture within this England team," Vaughan told AFP. "I see a little bit of immaturity on Friday night and a little bit of a lack of common sense. It was a big mistake and a bad mistake but I don't see any drinking culture within the England cricket team.
"We knew we lost the big game against New Zealand, we knew we were playing Canada on Sunday. We know how hard it is to play two games in three days in this kind of heat and we just didn't use common sense."
Vaughan said Flintoff's actions were unfortunate. "He's angry with himself for what he did," Vaughan said. "He and I want him playing cricket for England. I wanted him out there entertaining the crowd today. The World Cup wants to see the best players."
Flintoff will be available for England's final group match against Kenya on Saturday and Vaughan hoped the side could give some joy to the England fans. "There's nothing that can repay what they did but hopefully a victory today, and us winning next Saturday and a decent run in the World Cup will be the only way we can say sorry to the supporters," Vaughan said.
"The supporters have been let down. They want to see the England cricket team focused on what is a massive tournament."
Vaughan said England's inability to bowl Canada out was not a serious concern and their focus was now on beating Kenya. "We are the first to admit that there's areas of the batting we need to improve, areas of fielding, and some of our bowling was a bit erratic at times" he said.
"But the most important thing today was about winning. It's going to be a hard game [on Saturday]. We want to be in the World Cup for a few weeks yet. We have to make sure we unite as a team and work hard this week leading into that Kenya game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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