Now that Flintoff has been sacked from the vice-captaincy and the management have asserted that they will not consider him for the role of captaincy in the World Cup (and probably not in the future), the experiment of the all-rounder has come to a close [again]. The conclusion fulfils the hallmarks of that word: unedifying.
Flintoff's record as captain will not stand up well in the annals. Yet, the episode in which he is finally reprimanded, involving allegations that he was drunk in charge of a pedalo, does hint that he had entered Situation Impossible. Some do not have the courage to cut through the knots that bind a particular impasse, such as resigning from the captaincy of the England cricket team. The acknowledgement of one's own failure is a difficult circumstance to embrace.
Coach Duncan Fletcher said Flintoff would not be considered for the captaincy should Michael Vaughan get injured in the World Cup.
He said in a statement: "Andrew Flintoff has been given warnings about his conduct and disciplined for previous incidents of this nature.
The Board of Selectors and the coach are responsible for ensuring that the best captain is chosen for the team. If the wrong cricketer is chosen, they should have the power and the skills to end his responsibility without undue damage to his skills or previous position within the team. Fletcher's statement on Flintoff does beg the question as to why he was chosen in the first place and retained his position in Australia. The depth of skilled cricketers within the England team is not so great that they can afford to sack a captain and remove him from the team.
England's management had initially refused to speculate on a report in Sunday's News of the World, under a back-page headline of "Sunk' n' Drunk - Freddie fined after pedalo booze shame", that stated that Flintoff had toppled into the water after a late-night drinking session at the Rumours Nightclub near England's team hotel in St Lucia. Fans who witnessed events contacted several British newspapers to tell them what they'd seen.
Nasser Hussain, Flintoff's former captain, praised England's management for their hard-line stance on Flintoff's antics. "There is a history to this story," Hussain told Sky Sports. "It is not the first time. In Australia he had three or four warnings about his drinking. The management felt enough is enough. At some stage you have to have some strong management, even with your best cricketer. Well done England for finally for having some strong management."
The end of Flintoff's captaincy prospects could have been handled better. Did the management wait for an 'event' to carry out the inevitable withdrawal of favour inflicting disruption and psychologically unsettling a team that is already lacking confidence?