Monday 1 January 2007 

Flintoff Denies Divide In England Camp

Captain Andrew Flintoff has dismissed reports of a split in the England camp, insisting the team was still united in trying to salvage something from their disastrous Ashes tour of Australia.

There has been increasing speculation about the mood of England's players after five of them did not turn up for their Christmas lunch in Melbourne and only a handful attended a New Year's Eve harbour cruise in Sydney. Flintoff admitted the players were all devastated at losing the Ashes after being comprehensively beaten in the first four tests but said they were still determined to make amends by winning the final match.

"Obviously we're not happy with the way things have gone," Flintoff told a news conference after training at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.

"Morale has taken a few knocks at times. When you get beat, that does happen.

"But we've stuck together well and it would be nice if we could just get something out of this trip now."

Flintoff said he had no problems with players not attending the Christmas lunch or New Year's Eve party, saying they were not compulsory functions.

"Some lads did their own thing. I wouldn't read too much into that," he said.

"The lads were left to their own devices to do what they wanted to do. Some went to a restaurant, some went on a boat, and some did their own thing."

DISAPPOINTING FORM

Flintoff said his players were desperate to avoid losing the last match and avoid the embarrassment of England's first series sweep in Australia for 86 years.

"We've got one test match to play and we don't want to leave this country beaten 5-0," he said.

"We've got one more chance to show what we can do. Up until now we haven't shown that as a group.

"We've played well in patches but the only way we're going to beat Australia is if the bulk of the side performing in the same game."

Flintoff admitted his own form on the tour had been disappointing but said Australia deserved credit for they way they had taken control of the series.

"They've been ruthless right throughout the trip. There's been some opportunities for us to get a foot in the door but it's been closed behind us," he said.

"It's going to be hard game a cricket for us, we're 4-0 down, Australia are flying and if we can get something out of this game it'll be a great achievement for us."

© Reuters 2007.
By Julian Linden