UK View: England enraged by Jonny Bairstow 'stitch up'

Arnold Nichols
November 27, 2017

"I understand from the camp that Bairstow and Bancroft were having a drink together", Agnew told the BBC.

As England meandered towards all but certain defeat in the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, news broke of a confrontation between Bairstow and Bancroft in a Perth bar. Bancroft is a resident of Perth while the England team was in Perth for their first practice game of the tour.

It comes at a time when the off-field behaviour of England's players remains in the spotlight following the arrest of batsman Ben Stokes following a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

Claims have surfaced that Bairstow clashed with Australia opener Bancroft outside the Avenue Hotel at the start of the tour Down Under earlier this month.

In a statement the European Central Bank said: "At close of play in Brisbane today, we were made aware of allegations of an incident in Perth four weeks ago".

It was unclear on Sunday night whether the England and Wales Cricket Board had investigated the incident or whether the tourists' management meant to following the revelations of the pub run-in.

"Cricket Australia did not want to become involved last night but England suspect the Australians have allowed their media to fire bullets for them".

European Central Bank on Sunday released a statement after discussions with their wicketkeeper-batsman in which they came close to exonerating Bairstow while adding that they will conclude their investigations after the first Test.

No police report has been filed as of yet and it remains to be seen if the incident will be reviewed by the European Central Bank.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it had spoken to Bairstow regarding the alleged incident and will "follow up with England players and management after the Brisbane Test".

Bancroft, who did not play in the match, was at that stage just a fringe contender for the Australian team and joined some of his state team-mates along with a large number of England players at The Avenue bar.

Bairstow was apparently sledged by the Australian players, which also invited a send-off from Australia vice-captain David Warner after Bairstow was dismissed for 42.

"They say Bairstow and Bancroft knocked heads while grappling rugby-style in a non-aggressive manner".

At the start of the tour, head coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed that England's players would not be subject to curfews, although the expectation would be that they were to abstain from drinking between matches.

Whether the European Central Bank deem the Bairstow episode to be worthy of further action or not, it will inevitably lead to renewed questions about the freedom afforded to England players, particularly in light of the Stokes affair.

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