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Tuesday 28th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Coach can’t get his head around England players’ actions

JONNY BAIRSTOW’S errant behaviour in a Perth bar has left coach Trevor Bayliss struggling to contain his exasperation at the “dumb decisions” England players continue to make.

After England’s crushing 10-wicket defeat in the first Test in Brisbane, the post-match media briefings were dominated by Bairstow’s apparently playful headbutt on Australia opener Cameron Bancroft on the opening night of the tour in Western Australia.

Bayliss agreed with the Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman in saying the matter has been “blown completely out of proportion” — Bancroft bore no grudges but conceded it was a “weird” way to greet someone.

Bayliss began the trip Down Under by insisting he would still treat his players like adults in the wake of all-rounder Ben Stokes’s arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in a late-night fracas in Bristol over the summer, an incident which has made the Durham man unavailable for the tour.

Asked yesterday if he thought Stokes’s experiences might have prompted the players to be more careful, the Australian said: “That was what I thought after Bristol as well. They’d be extra dumb and stupid if it didn’t.”

Joe Root’s team will be collectively reminded of their responsibilities by England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss, and Bayliss has hinted players may yet be advised not to drink on nights out.

Bairstow issued a statement about the incident, in which he said: “We were just in the bar, having a good laugh and a good evening out. It was very enjoyable.

“Cameron and I enjoyed the evening and continued to do so. There was no intent, nor malice, about anything during the evening.”

Bancroft said of the incident: “He connected with my head. With a force that would make me think: ‘Wow, that’s a bit weird.’

“And that was it.”