I see Andrew Flintoff appears to be in the soup again after missing the team bus for a visit to the war graves in Flanders.
(I have to say (parenthetically) that this strikes me as being a rather dubious enterprise (and possibly Buchanan-inspired?). The Australians, I believe, set a precedent by visiting Gallipoli en route to the Ashes in 2001, but then I half-suspected the thinking behind that was the belief that the loss of Australian life there was due to British blundering. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the loss of life at Ypres was down to the Australians. And – great game though it is – it is only a game).
Anyway, Hugh Morris has “refused to deny that the incident was alcohol-related”.
This is not the first time, of course, that English cricketers have been accused by the reptiles of the press of being alcohol-impaired. Freddie Brown (one-time captain of Northants) – in his bracing work Cricket Musketeer (Nicholas Kaye, 1954) – defended the team he was captaining during the 1950-51 tour of Australia in the following robust terms:
That “Riotous Living”
“Why had the MCC fared so poorly in the early part of the tour? The main reason why we were not more successful up to the first Test was our absolutely pathetic fielding …
There were comments in the press that the reasons for our bad showing up to the first Test were due to riotous living. Such poppycock I have never heard equalled …
One of the most fatuous accusations made against the behaviour of the team concerned the incident of the ‘horizontal cricketers’. It was during the second Victoria match, when I was watching from the pavilion. MCC had a long time in the field and, believe me, on a hot and sultry day in the Melbourne cricket ground there is hardly a breath of air. Quite naturally, at the fall of a wicket our players took the opportunity to rest themselves by sitting or lying on the grass. Back went this report to England that our players could not even stand up.”
And plenty more in this vein. Freddie Brown is a subject I’d like to return to a later date, but – to be going on with – here’s a picture to give you the flavour of the man.