Sydney - England cricket chief Andrew Strauss says his
players are not "thugs" and there is no drinking culture in the team,
as he slapped a midnight curfew on the Ashes tour, reports said on Tuesday.
The move followed Jonny Bairstow's headbutt of Cameron
Bancroft in a Perth bar late last month, which only came to light over the
weekend and has dominated headlines.
There is sensitivity within the England camp about off-field
behaviour after the controversy surrounding suspended star all-rounder Ben
Stokes, who is facing a police inquiry into a fight outside a Bristol nightclub
Head coach Trevor Bayliss was furious at Bairstow, calling
his behaviour "dumb" on Monday, accusing him of handing Australia
Director of cricket Strauss said Bairstow "bumped"
heads with Bancroft in what he described as an innocent greeting "that he
does with his mates".
But in a meeting with the players at the team hotel in
Brisbane on Monday after they lost the first Test by 10 wickets, he laid down
the law, cricket.com.au and Britain's Daily Telegraph said.
"There is no way that you can or should be putting
yourself or the team or the ECB or the game of cricket in a position where
people are making judgements about the sport on the back of what you're doing
on a night out," Strauss was quoted as saying.
"And that's what the players need to understand. They
have been told about this before."
He said they "need to be smarter".
"That's the reality, they are adults, intelligent
adults, and at times they are not using that intelligence in the right way.
"It is a distraction to the team and none of us want
Both cricket.com.au and The Telegraph said Strauss had
banned any player from being out after midnight for the rest of the five-Test
Given the Stokes controversy and the Bairstow incident, the
England boss was keen to dismiss any perceptions that the team was out of
control, it was reported.
"These guys are not thugs. These are good, honest,
hardworking cricketers who sacrifice a lot to play for England," he said.
"They've done some great things in an England shirt and
I will back them on that to the hilt because I know them.
"But the perception of them and the reality is
different at the moment and we've got to take steps to make sure that reality
is what people perceive of the England cricket team, not something
Asked whether the team had a drinking problem, Strauss
answered: "I think it is unrealistic to say to someone you're going on a
five-month tour and you can't have a drop of alcohol.
"There was no curfew on that night," he added of
the Bairstow incident. "But it is worth saying that they had security with
them. Nothing untoward happened at any time.
"They were all well-behaved, they weren't inebriated,
they'd had a couple of beers. That's why it wasn't an issue for us. That's why
I didn't hear about it.
"That is the reason it has been a complete non-event up
until now. No one knew about it because they didn't do anything wrong and this
situation has somewhat surprised all of us."