Jonny Bairstow’s ‘headbutting’ was a minor incident blown out of all proportion, say England management.
Trevor Bayliss, England’s head coach, has promised that his team will receive another ‘stern talking-to’, after confirming that Bairstow was involved in an altercation with Australia’s opening batsman, Cameron Bancroft, on the first night of England’s Ashes tour.
Speaking in the wake of England’s ten-wicket defeat in the first Test at Brisbane, Bayliss admitted his disappointment that another England player had become involved in an off-field issue so soon after Ben Stokes’ arrest in Bristol, but reiterated the team’s stance that there had been ‘no malice’ involved in the incident and that it had been ‘blown out of all proportion’.
‘It doesn’t reflect well on the image of the team, that’s for sure,’ Bayliss told BBC’s Test Match Special. ‘It’s something we are working towards, but to say there’s a drinking culture and a big problem, that’s far off the mark.’
Bayliss did confirm that the incident had occurred on the first night of England’s tour back in October, when the team touched in Perth. There were no curfews imposed that night, and though Bairstow was one of the England players who received a fine for their part in the events leading up to the Bristol incident, Bayliss insisted that no disciplinary action was anticipated on this occasion.
The incident is understood to have been picked up via the stump microphones when Bairstow came out to bat during the Brisbane Test.
‘It was a chance for the Australian team to get stuck in and make people feel uncomfortable, and that’s their prerogative,’ Bayliss added. ‘That’s Ashes cricket and it’s what we’ve got to deal with, which is why these types of small instances we can’t put up with.
‘It’s disappointing that something like this comes up a few weeks after Bristol. Will be another stern talking-to tonight. We’ve got to be very careful not to get ourselves in those situations.’
Photo: Darren England/EPA/BackpagePix