England investigate Bairstow 'headbutt allegations

Getting drunk is the best form of team bonding – KP (1:45)

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)

England are investigating allegations that Jonny Bairstow headbutted Australia’s batsman Cameron Bancroft in Perth at the start of the Ashes tour.

The allegations come as England face up to the prospect of a heavy defeat in the first Test in Brisbane.

Fox Sports News reported that a late-night incident allegedly took place outside the Avenue Hotel in Perth while England were contesting their opening tour match against a Western Australian XI.

Bancroft was not a serious Test contender at that stage, but went on to a run of batting form which saw him make his Test debut at the Gabba.

An England spokesperson refused to comment on the validity of the claims, but the ECB have been keenly aware that the behaviour of the squad would be under fierce scrutiny from the moment they set foot in Australia.

The allegation against Bairstow comes as his teammate Ben Stokes is still under police investigation for his role in a brawl outside a nightspot in Bristol in September.

Bairstow, along with Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett, who is not in the Ashes tour party, was one of three England players given a formal written warning and fine for unprofessional conduct by the ECB after the night in Bristol.

The players were also out in Bristol on the same night as Ben Stokes and Alex Hales on September 25 but they were not with them at the time of the incident that led to Stokes’ arrest.

While England’s players decided not to impose an alcohol ban for the Ashes tour, they had agreed their behaviour off the field would be heavily scrutinised following the Stokes incident and decided they would not drink in the immediate lead-up to matches.

England’s coach, Trevor Bayliss, explained at the time: “The players sat down and had a chat. They are the ones who have come up with this.

“There are no set curfews, they are just sensible rulings. To me, it’s what we should have been sticking to anyway as players or people around a professional set-up.

“Not drinking between matches is just sensible. We certainly don’t want to keep players in their rooms because it is a long tour. You have to get out and experience what the country you’re touring has to offer.

“It’s about picking the right time to have a couple of drinks, but knowing to stay away from it if you’re preparing for a match.”

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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