England’s Ashes tour has been plunged into a fresh crisis with batsman Ben Duckett stood down from a tour game on Saturday and suspended following a new incident in a Perth bar.
Duckett, who was selected to open the batting in England’s two-day tour match against a Cricket Australia XI in Perth, was a late omission from the team.
Team coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed that Duckett was involved in an incident late Thursday where he poured a drink over a senior player, identified in reports as fast bowler James Anderson, following a heated row.
“I think that was the issue,” Bayliss told reporters. “It was boys being boys, I suppose, but totally unacceptable.
It’s trivial, but in the current climate not acceptable. “Everyone has been warned about how even small things can be blown out of all proportion. “I’m disappointed. With what we have had to go through already with these problems, it is not acceptable.”
Bayliss said the Northants batsman was suspended by team management while a disciplinary investigation, which will be led by Lions coach Andy Flower, takes place. “Andy will look after his player and if anything needs to be said or done with the first team, we’ll handle that,” Bayliss said.
“I’m not sure what more I can say to the players. I’m sure there will be some stern words from above.” Bayliss agreed when asked if he was “fed up” about having to address off-field matters. “Very much so. I’m here to coach the team and I end up spending most of the time trying to explain behaviour that the boys have been warned about,” he said.
It was the first night after England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of cricket Andrew Strauss agreed to a relaxing of the midnight curfew placed on the Test squad a fortnight ago.
That curfew followed news that wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow headbutted Australian Test opener Cameron Bancroft in a Perth bar during the tourists’ first night on tour.
Duckett, 23, has been touring Australia with England Lions and was among a number of players promoted for the current tour match while senior players rested ahead of next week’s all-important third Test against Australia in Perth.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes is already suspended from the tour after he became involved in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September that led to police investigations, although he is currently playing domestic cricket in New Zealand.
Reports said that no members of the public were involved in the Duckett incident and police were not involved.
Duckett, who has played in four Tests for England, has been caught up in controversy in the past and was left out of Northants’ tour to Barbados in 2015. He was once dropped from the England Under 19 team for fitness issues.
England are 2-0 down in the Ashes series and will relinquish the urn if they are beaten in the third Test, starting on Thursday.—AFP