Cricket officials snub Flintoff ‘shooting’ claim

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England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff’s claim he was shot at during a one-day international in New Delhi in 2002 are scoffed at by Indian cricket officials…

 Flintoff, who inspired England to an Ashes triumph over Australia earlier this month, makes the startling revelation in his forthcoming book ‘Being Freddie’ whose extracts were carried by The Times newspaper in London.

"I felt something hit me and, looking down, saw pellets on the ground," Flintoff wrote, referring to the one-dayer at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in the Indian capital in January, 2002.

"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."

Flintoff said the English team management played down the incident, but New Delhi cricket officials said they were not taking the all-rounder’s claim seriously.

"This is the first time I am hearing of it," said Chand Khanna, a senior official of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and a vice president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"If such a thing actually happened, why did the England team keep quiet about it?

"No one told us a thing then or after the tour. He can’t be serious."

Flintoff claims he was himself rattled by the team management’s decision to play down the incident.

"Nasser Hussain (the captain) 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," Flintoff wrote.

"There was a big story back home to do with crowd disturbances, but Andrew Walpole, the England Cricket Board’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 overexcited at the time, but I wasn’t sure about that at all."