April 26, 2018

Jonny Bairstow: ECB investigating 'headbutt' involving Cameron Bancroft before Ashes

27 November 2017, 01:03 | Ken Black

Jonny Bairstow reportedly head-butted England wicketkeeper Australia opener Cameron Bancroft

Jonny Bairstow reportedly head-butted England wicketkeeper Australia opener Cameron Bancroft

The behaviour of England cricketers has come under scrutiny after Ben Stokes was left out of the Ashes tour after he and Alex Hales were arrested following an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub in September and released under police investigation.

The clash between Bairstow and Bancroft comes four years after a bar-room scrap between David Warner and Joe Root preceded an Ashes series in England.

The wicket-keeper is being investigated by the European Central Bank over claims he aimed a butt at Australia ace Bancroft in Perth.

MATT Prior and the United Kingdom press have downplayed allegations wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow headbutted Cameron Bancroft four weeks ago, accusing Australia of trying to derail England's Ashes campaign.

Bairstow and Bancroft crossed paths shortly after England arrived in Australia, where they started their tour with a tune-up at the WACA.

He plays county cricket for Yorkshire, and made his England Test debut as against West Indies in May 2012.

The episode - where Bairstow allegedly head-butted Bancroft - took place at a hotel when England were in town for their first tour match, a one-day affair against a Western Australian XI on November 4. "Following an initial conversation with Jonny Bairstow we understand the context and will follow up with England players and management after the Brisbane Test", an European Central Bank statement read.

The comments were picked up by the stump microphone and later reported by Australia's Fox television, leading to an investigation by England at the close of a chastening penultimate day of a thrilling first Test.

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.

The matter has not been pursued by Bancroft, but Bairstow was given a big send-off by a couple of Australian players when he departed meekly to virtually end England's hopes of posting a competitive target.

AAP understands Bancroft has discussed the matter with team management, who are satisfied he did no wrong in the scrap.

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.

Another source told Sportsmail 'Jonny is a rugby man and part of their culture is to bump heads if someone buys them a drink.

But he was one of three England players fined by the European Central Bank in the wake of a night out in Bristol that saw Ben Stokes arrested for alleged assault.

It's the second incident that has sparked controversy in England's Ashes campaign after vice-captain Ben Stokes was suspended for his involvement in a pub brawl before the series.

There is an acceptance within the European Central Bank that they can not keep the players confined to hotel rooms on tours that last for weeks on end but the last thing they needed was more accusations that any of their players had done anything wrong.

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