London: Former England coach Duncan Fletcher defended himself on Monday over the revelations in his recently released biography about star allrounder Andrew Flintoff's drinking during the last Ashes tour which saw England surrender them tamely to Australia 5-0.
The 58-year-old Zimbabwean-born naturalised Englishman also defended himself against not only criticism of his revelations but that he had been weak not to discipline Flintoff by stripping him of the captaincy after he turned up drunk for a training session during the Australian tour.
"I have concerns about the level of debate that's been reached," Fletcher told the BBC.
"I wanted to be loyal to him (Flintoff) but loyalty should be two-way traffic," added Fletcher who became a national hero when England regained the Ashes after a 16 year hiatus in 2005.
Fletcher, a former captain of the Zimbabwe cricket team who recorded a stunning victory over Australia in the 1983 World Cup, revealed that he had mentioned the Sydney incident as a means of linking it to the infamous 'Fredalo' episode during the World Cup earlier this year in the West Indies.
A drunk Flintoff fell off a pedalo in a late night ride and was subsequently stripped of the vice-captaincy.
"I felt let down after the pedalo affair," said Fletcher, who has also aimed his fire at English cricket icon Sir Ian Botham blaming him for being a bad influence on Flintoff and taking him out on an all night drinking session during the Australia tour.
"I just felt that I linked it directly to what had happened in Sydney, and just felt let down in such a serious situation.
"I was under huge pressure at the time."
Fletcher, who admitted in his book Behind The Shades that he was so nervous on the final day of the final Ashes Test in 2005 he retched on the way back to his room after breakfast, said that he had opted to stick with Flintoff as captain in Australia as they had already suffered a truamatic time during the Ashes.
"I just felt at the time we had been struggling along and hadn't played good cricket," said Fletcher, who was not the only sporting success in his family as his sister Ann captained Zimbabwe to the 1980 Olympic gold medal.
"I was under enormous pressure to suddenly do something dramatic. You are in the position where you don't know what the outcome is - it's an uncontrollable situation.
"I thought that loyalty to Andrew at that time was the way to carry on, to reprimand him and win this one-day series (which England achieved).
"If the pedalo affair hadn't taken place there's a very good chance we would have carried on managing Andrew and the situation would have looked after itself," added Fletcher, who saw his eight year reign come to an end after England exited the World Cup at the Super Eight stage.