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Andrew Flintoff plays down his shot-at claims

Published: Monday, March 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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New Delhi:England's stand-in captain Andrew Flintoff today played down his claims of being shot at during a One-day match against India in 2002 at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium, which hosts the first of the seven-match series here tomorrow.

Reminded of the claims he had made in his autobiography ''Being Freddie'' of being shot at the January 31 match, Flintoff evaded any direct reference to the incident and said, ''Last time, it was a minor thing from any miscreant but one must not expect it to happen again.'' Without going into the matter further, Flintoff hinted he was ready to put it behind and prepare for the ODI series.

''It's a great opportunity for all of us to play seven One-day matches in front of packed crowds and that makes it great,'' he said.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), however, has vehemently denied the veracity of the event and questioned the logic behind raising the issue so long after the incident.

In his autibiography, Flintoff had recalled the incident, saying, ''I felt something hit me and, looking down, saw pellets on the ground.'' ''You expect to have plastic bottles thrown at you when you are playing on the sub-continent, but you don't expect to be shot,'' he wrote.

Flintoff also claimed that he was upset at being asked to play down the incident by the team management.

''(The then captain) Nasser Hussain got very heated about it in the middle and Phil Neale, the tour manager, came to find out what was going on, but the whole thing seemed to get swept under the carpet,'' he wrote.

''There was a big story back home to do with crowd disturbances, but Andrew Walpole, the ECB's media relations manager, told me to play the incident down when I was interviewed the following day.'' ''Looking back now, I think I should have made more of a stand because I wasn't there to be shot at. We explained it away as the crowd just being over-excited at the time, but I wasn't sure about that at all,'' he added.

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