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Cricket: Vaughan's record bid is hit by cup row; Skipper denies Flintoff criticism.

Byline: By MYLES HODGSON

MICHAEL VAUGHAN'S bid to become the most successful England captain in history is under threat by the on-going controversy over his criticism of Andrew Flintoff's late night World Cup antics.

The Yorkshire batsman needs to win the third Test against West Indies, which started at Old Trafford today, to overhaul Peter May's record of 20 victories and secure his place in England's hall of fame.

But at a time when he should be concentrating on winning the series for England and claiming that record, the controversy over his criticism of all-rounder Flintoff refuses to die down.

Vaughan claimed he was mis-represented in an interview with The Guardian when he suggested Flintoff's infamous drinking spree - and subsequent incident with a pedalo on a St Lucia beach - undermined England's World Cup challenge.

He insisted he would never pinpoint the blame on one player, particularly Flintoff, and claimed he had never used the word "Fred-alo" during the interview.

His version of events was contradicted hours later, though, when The Guardian produced an audio recording of the interview which clearly establishes Vaughan using the phrase "Fred-alo" on more than one occasion.

Vaughan, talking about the World Cup campaign, is heard to say: "We had a great preparation week and then unfortunately incidents happened which did affect the team. You've got to be honest, it affected the morale, it affected the spirit."

Guardian journalist Donald McCrae responds by asking: "Was it...?" and Vaughan replies: "Fredalo. It's bound to affect team spirit. From then on suddenly you've got players I'd like to see go out and enjoy themselves, but no-one would dare go out after that and you don't feel you can create a spirit."

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UNDER FIRE: England skipper Michael Vaughan
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2007
Words:291
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