Great Cricket Drinking Episodes – No. 3: The Ashes 2005

So far in our series on cricket’s great boozing incidents, we’ve seen Ian Botham and chums have a massive Ashes piss-up and David Boon enjoy a relaxing flight to the UK.

The man, the legend…

With the rise of sports nutritionists and central contracts, we’ve seen a slight thinning out of cricketers who were also notable pissants. Then along came a big lad from Preston (who was genuinely pretty large at the start of his career). We’re not talking about Fredalo here (although we could do an entire article on that), nor the time when Mr Flintoff turned up to training drunk – we’re going back to the piss-up which began it all for Fred – the Ashes in 2005.

It was quite understandable that they should want to celebrate – after all, if we’d just won one of the greatest prizes in sport after 18 years of trying and dismally failing, during which time it was a notable achievement to have won a single match in a series, we’d probably have a few beers as well. However, enter Freddie Flintoff, Ashes hero, destroyer of Antipodean dreams, a man who in days of animal skins and spiked clubs would have walked around wearing a necklace made of the teeth of his conquered enemies, and possibly a skull-cap made of Adam Gilchrist’s scalp. These were the days when (for our younger readership) Freddie was at the peak of his powers, before injury, depression and an apparent addiction to Red Bull took their toll.
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Roll up, roll up…

The Flower Waltz, a piece for small ensemble, arr. Strauss; soloist – K Pietersen

TMS spent a good part of Tuesday’s ODI going on about cricketers with composers’ names, prompted by the appearance of Dean Elgar. This, given the news that came out on Wednesday, gave us an idea…

So the final movement has drawn to a close, perhaps with slightly more of a piano finish than the conductor intended, but with the critics looking back on the entire piece and exchanging some impressed looks.

Let’s be clear here, maestro Strauss did not compose this piece – rather he arranged it from an original theme by the modernist duo of Fletcher and Vaughan, with significant (and not entirely positive) later alterations made by Pietersen. Strauss, speaking at the unveiling of the new arrangement, was quick to highlight the Flower theme of the piece, which is present throughout, and the constancy of the instrumentation, which sees only a few new textures introduced mid-piece.
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