Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, has insisted that Jonny Bairstow’s alleged head-butt on Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft has been “blown out of proportion”.
Nonetheless, he said that the incident is an unwanted distraction in the middle of the Ashes series.
The incident is reported to have taking place on a night out in Perth last month at the start of England’s tour. It came to light on Sunday during the first Test in Brisbane which Australia won comfortably by 10 wickets.
Both England and Australia have played down the incident and Bairstow has said that there was “no intent, nor malice about anything during the evening” in Perth.
Bayliss has given his backing to the wicket keeper but said that the incident is another unwanted distraction just a few months after Ben Stokes’ arrest in Bristol.
Speaking on Sunday he said, “We’ve just got to be smarter. Most people in the world like to go out at night and have a couple of quiet ones. We’ve got to be careful that you don’t do anything stupid. We’ve got to be smarter. If that means not having anything to drink, well then so be it. Any team will take any opportunity to get stuck into the opposition and make them feel uncomfortable wherever possible. So if you put yourself in that position then you’re fair game. I’m disappointed that some small incident has been blown up and put into the press. It is a distraction. I’m sure there will be further discussions between myself, management and the players.”
He was asked if the incident would lead to a change in the way that England players conduct themselves to which he said, “That is what I thought after Bristol. They would be extra dumb and stupid if it didn’t.”