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On This Day in 2007: ‘Fredalo’ disrupts England’s World Cup campaign

The all-rounder lost the England vice-captaincy over his drunken antics.

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Andrew Flintoff had a roller-coaster of an England career with plenty ups and downs (Gareth Copley/PA)

Andrew Flintoff had a roller-coaster of an England career with plenty ups and downs (Gareth Copley/PA)

Andrew Flintoff had a roller-coaster of an England career with plenty ups and downs (Gareth Copley/PA)

Andrew Flintoff quite literally made a splash at the Cricket World Cup ahead of England’s group game against Canada on March 18, 2007.

The all-rounder, then 29, was famously involved in a drunken escapade with a pedalo that cost him the England vice-captaincy.

Here, 13 years on, the PA news agency looks at the bizarre events in St Lucia dubbed “Fredalo”, and how Flintoff rebuilt his reputation both on and off the field.

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Andrew Flintoff was an Ashes hero in 2005 (Chris Young/PA)

What happened?

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – Super Eights – South Africa v England – Barbados
Andrew Flintoff was out of sorts at the 2007 Cricket World Cup (Rebecca Naden/PA)

England had lost their opening game of the tournament to New Zealand and Flintoff decided to drown his sorrows, little more than 24 hours before the second match against Canada. Reports suggested Flintoff, along with some other players and coaches from the England squad, embarked on a drinking spree lasting several hours.

So how does the pedalo come in?

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – England Press Conference – St Lucia
A pedalo is pulled ashore near the England team hotel in St Lucia during the 2007 World Cup (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Flintoff revealed in an interview years later that he was “hammered” as he headed back to the hotel at 1.30am – and his walk home took him partially across the beach. He decided to reach someone he knew on one of the boats sat just out to sea. Flintoff said he could not swim and that would be “dangerous”, and thought of getting a kayak before spotting the pedalo.

Who was he trying to see?

England v Australia – Fourth Test – Day Four – 2019 Ashes Series – Emirates Old Trafford
TV pundit Ian Botham was commentating at the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean (Mike Egerton/PA)

Flintoff was trying to paddle his way to one of England’s cricket greats, Sir Ian Botham, who was working at the World Cup as a television pundit. “It sounds bizarre,” Flintoff said in that 2014 interview. “But I knew Ian Botham was on one (boat out to sea) and I thought: ‘I’m going to have a nightcap with Beefy.’ So Flintoff dragged the pedalo into the water, but fell off before being helped back to safety by hotel staff.

The next day

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – England v Canada – England press conference – St Lucia
England coach Duncan Fletcher was furious with Flintoff’s behaviour (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Flintoff woke up “still wet and with sand between my toes” and England coach Duncan Fletcher was soon in his room and on the warpath. Having been warned and disciplined for previous misdemeanours, Flintoff was summoned to a press conference to apologise for his behaviour. He lost the vice-captaincy, and was fined and suspended for the Canada match. Flintoff returned for the next game, but both he and England had a poor tournament and captain Michael Vaughan said the pedalo antics had hurt team morale.

Restoration on and off the pitch

Top Gear
Andrew Flintoff became a TV personality after his cricket career and is a host of BBC show Top Gear (Will Douglas/BBC)

Flintoff, the 2005 Ashes hero, was at rock bottom after the 5-0 defeat in Australia (the tour he disastrously led with Vaughan injured) a few months earlier and the pedalo incident in the Caribbean. He struggled with injuries in the years that followed, but enjoyed one final hurrah to help England regain the Ashes in 2009. Post-cricket, Flintoff was in demand from companies to advertise their brands and became a media personality. He has been a team captain on long-running TV sports panel show A League of Their Own and a host of popular motoring magazine Top Gear.

PA