In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Kevin Pietersen says if he was coach he would allow the players freedom to go and ‘do what you want, but don’t get caught. (1:45)
Trevor Bayliss, England’s head coach, has confirmed that there will be no curfews imposed on his players during the forthcoming Ashes, but added that “sensible” guidelines have been drawn up in the wake of Ben Stokes’ arrest outside a Bristol nightclub last month.
Speaking in Perth during England’s first nets session since arriving in Australia, Bayliss reiterated his long-held belief that personal responsibility is a key aspect of being a professional cricketer, and added that England’s players themselves had decided when is and isn’t acceptable to have a drink and enjoy the experience of being on tour.
“Not drinking between matches is just sensible,” Bayliss told the BBC. “There’s been no set curfews. I think they’re just sensible rulings.
“To me, they’re what we should be sticking to anyway as a player or someone around a professional set-up. The players have sat down and had a chat and they’re the ones that’ve come up with it.”
With Stokes withdrawn from the tour pending further investigation into the incident outside Mbargo nightclub on September 25, and following the disciplining of three other players who had been out that night – Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett -England’s captain, Joe Root, was forced to deny last week that the England team is beset by a drinking culture.
But Bayliss believes that instilling a siege mentality in the wake of the Stokes incident would undermine England’s hopes of success in the Ashes.
“We certainly don’t want to put too many curfews on them that keep them in their rooms,” he said. “It’s a long tour, you’ve got to get out and experience the country that you’re touring.”
His comments echo the views of Kevin Pietersen, a three-times Ashes tourist, who last week told ESPNcricinfo that nights out on long tours were a vital factor in team bonding.
“When we had the great tour Down Under in 2010-11, we had the most incredible couple of nights out at the start of that tour, which brought the team so close together,” Pietersen said.
“I know that it sounds so stupid, but if you go and get hammered as a team on a night out – as senior and junior players – the bonds you can create there are better than any ridiculous sessions you can do in the forest in Germany.”
Bayliss admitted that the aftermath of the Stokes arrest had been a “difficult time” for the team, but that their arrival in Australia had helped to focus their minds on the task at hand.
“It’s a month ago now, and certainly the guys here in Australia have gone about their business and there hasn’t really been chat about it all,” he said.
“Everyone’s been concentrating on what we need to do to win this series.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo