i mean, this is the reporter "intellectuals" approve of.
now, i am certain that the patriots of this forum would apply objectivity and slander GC, for leaking dressing room secrets. or as always, will i be met with silence/the usual irrelevant but healing SG bashing OR personal remarks about the poster?
"When the Australian Greg Chappell became India's coach, he rang up newspaper owners and editors in his own charm offensive
Duncan Fletcher defends Flintoff comments
By Scyld Berry
Last Updated: 2:21am GMT 04/11/2007
Duncan Fletcher returned to Britain yesterday to face the media storm, and made a robust defence of his decision to reveal in his autobiography the story of when Andrew Flintoff, the England captain, was too drunk to fulfil a practice session the day before a one-day international against Australia.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Fletcher said that his decision to disclose the story was determined by the pedalo affair in St Lucia during the World Cup, which followed England's Ashes tour, when Flintoff was caught drinking at 4am the day before England's match against Canada.
"People have turned round and said, 'should I have brought it up?' From my point of view the two [incidents] were directly linked. You had a situation where an incident took place and rightly or wrongly I kept it in-house, then in three or four weeks' time we had a similar affair. I just thought it was important it was brought out in the open.
"If the pedalo affair hadn't happened I wouldn't have revealed it [the story of England's abandoned practice in Australia]. Having had a chat with him, if nothing had happened, I definitely wouldn't have revealed it. But they were so directly linked I was taken aback by it: enough is enough sort of thing.'
Fletcher also refuted allegations that he had betrayed the trust of Marcus Trescothick by revealing what had happened in the dressing room when England's opening batsman suffered nervous breakdowns in India and Australia.
"I chatted to Tres about it. There was a phone call that took place long before the book was completed and I said I'd mentioned some of the incidents in the book. At no stage did he say, 'no, I didn't want it in'. Whatever has been written has been out there, has been basically covered before. I said, 'is that alright?' and he said, 'OK and left it at that.
"The only thing that was added [in the book] was the meeting I had beforehand, during the New South Wales game, which I had with the management about how we'd deal with the indications that Tres was struggling on tour. I had made up my mind that we wouldn't carry on and the best thing was for him to go home, and it [his breakdown when he returned to the Sydney dressing room after his innings] sadly confirmed what I thought."
Fletcher flew in from Cape Town, took the Heathrow express to Paddington and travelled down to Cardiff with his publisher's publicist, arriving at noon. It was utterly characteristic of the man that on the train journey he did not talk with the publicist about the strategy for a media counter-offensive: they talked about slipped discs instead. Fletcher's wife Marina has been bed-ridden in Cape Town, and he was comparing notes with the publicist about his mother who had disc trouble.
His assignments in Cardiff were book-signings and interviews with the Welsh media, who seized on his comment that he would like to return in some capacity to Glamorgan, whom he coached to their last County Championship in 1997. The book-signing session was none too demanding, although the publication date of his autobiography Behind the Shades is tomorrow, and there has already been a reprint to satisfy the expected demand after last week's serialisation.
It was typical of Fletcher that he talked about discs on the train, not a media strategy, because he is not a political animal. When the Australian Greg Chappell became India's coach, he rang up newspaper owners and editors in his own charm offensive.
Fletcher, at one point in yesterday's signing session, broke off and sighed: "Politics! I just want to coach."
Interviewers tried to get him to be indiscrete, to stir the pot, to have another go at Flintoff or some other English icon. "I was just trying to put my side of the story," he said about Ian Botham and Geoffrey Boycott, "and I expected them to come back in that manner." Of Flintoff he remarked: "I see him as a very, very good cricketer and he's very important for England. I hope he gets over that foot injury."
Fletcher is an inscrutable man, an enigma – except if you see where he comes from. A few years ago he took me to the farm outside Harare, where he was brought up. Zimbabwe was reported to be in a lawless state but the farmhouse was unlocked, its inhabitants out in the fields. He saw some African labourers in the distance, climbed a fence and started speaking to them in rusty but still fairly fluent Shona. The land, if not quite on the scale of Australia's outback, was immense and hot and still.
This was a place where few words were needed; where, when nature was adverse, honesty and trust and straightforwardness were essential. The charge can be laid against him that he has moved to the city, and made his living out of such urban activities as professional sport and now the media, while expecting the values of the countryside to be still applied. But he has not been alone in hoping for the best of both worlds.
During the controversy over Monty Panesar, and his omission from England's team for the first two Tests in Australia, the allegation of racism was sometimes muttered. The ability to talk another language is one piece of evidence for a complete rebuttal. So is the testimony of the one non-white player in the Zimbabwe side of the early 1980s under Fletcher's captaincy, Ali Shah: "I think he [Fletcher] was against me when he thought I couldn't play. Then I played an innings against a touring Australian team, and he rated me." Shah thought other Zimbabwe players, and captains, were racist, but not Fletcher.
What Fletcher has always been prejudiced against – even yesterday – was spinners who can't bat and field. He needs to see strength of personality too in his cricketers: "I've got nothing against Chris Read. Read and Panesar, they are two very good boys, but in sport you need certain requirements to succeed at international level."
But it will be for the revelation of Flintoff's inebriation at an England practice that Fletcher will be remembered. They have never got along socially. Perhaps the two of them personify the age-old tension between reason and instinct. Flintoff, almost for certain, would have been a better Test batsman if he had listened to Fletcher – might have had a future as a specialist batsman if his ankle prevents him bowling again. But Flintoff was the Ashes match-winner of 2005 because he was not weighed down by thought, giving himself over to instinct and inspiration.
Or maybe there is more to this than meets the eye or the book. Maybe we should recall the many rumours of Flintoff's nights out and think, with the Queen of Sheba, "the half was not told me". Which makes all the more welcome the news that England's all-rounder has gone the last three months without a drink.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/sport/2007/11/04/scscyl104.xml