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Flintoff wanted a drink with Botham
12 Sep 2014 10:10
Andrew Flintoff has revealed his infamous pedalo incident in the Caribbean was an attempt to get out to sea and find the boat on which he believed Ian Botham was enjoying a late-night drink.
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England's former dual Ashes-winning all-rounder said he still regrets the moment - and the consequences when England's then coach Duncan Fletcher found out about his drunken expedition.
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In 'Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Andrew Flintoff', to be screened by ITV at 9pm on Friday, 'Freddie' relives many of his escapades.
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As well as his revelation that he suffered, during his playing days, from bulimia, Flintoff recalls his misadventure in St Lucia at the 2007 World Cup - as well as his post-Ashes trip to Downing Street in 2005, and meeting the Queen.
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It was an intended date with cricketing royalty, though, that got him into trouble in the Windies - not least with Fletcher, who swiftly banned him from England's next match and put him before the press to explain what had happened.
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What Flintoff did not tell them at the time was that his reason for boarding a pedalo - from which he was eventually rescued - was his decision, on a late-night whim, to head out across the bay by whatever means for an impromptu nightcap with Botham.
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Flintoff said: "We'd played New Zealand on the Friday, the first game of the World Cup, and things hadn't being going well.
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"We'd just come off the back of the Ashes (whitewash defeat under his captaincy in 2006-07), and I was so desperate to do well in this World Cup.
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"I went out, I got a duck, out first ball actually ... then I didn't get a wicket, and then we got beat.
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"I went back to the hotel room ... I thought ... 'I'm not going out' ... but I was in my room, I was smashing the room up, I was gutted and then I thought ... 'I'm going to go out for a bit'."
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That was his first mistake.
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"About 1.30am I thought ... 'I'm hammered here, go home'. I had to walk partially across the beach.
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"For some reason I had this idea these boats out to sea - it sounds bizarre - but I knew Ian Botham was on one (boat) and I thought ... 'I'm going to have a nightcap with Beefy'.
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"I thought 'I can't swim ... that would be dangerous', so I was going to get a kayak."
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Botham, the Flintoff of the 1980s, was on the tour as a television pundit.
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Their meeting on this occasion never happened.
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"I couldn't find the oars, so I dragged this pedalo into the water," added Flintoff.
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"The next morning I woke up, I was on my bed and ... still wet and ... sand between my toes.
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"Then the door knocked. The door had these slats, and I thought it was the maid wanting to clean the room.
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"So I said 'can you come back?'.
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"But it was the coach. I pulled the slats down and answered the door, and then Duncan just said 'my room - now'."
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What followed, even eight years on at the age of 36, remains a hugely embarrassing wake-up call for Flintoff.
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"It was a real low point ... I had this press conference and walked across the hotel reception - and the England fans, who were only a month previously cheering my name and high-fiving me ... were shaking their heads.
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"I couldn't make eye contact with them and I thought 'this isn't good'."
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