If only Jimmy Anderson could hide. This way we don’t have to talk about ducats.
I make no apologies for this horrible joke. The whole tour quickly turns into a bad joke. I’m not referring to the behavior of the England players – which seems to be fairly consistent with the behavior of previous tours – I’m referring to the ECB’s ludicrous overreaction every time an England player farts too loudly.
We all know what happened to Ben Stokes. It’s bad and everyone knows it. But there have been no issues since England arrived in Australia – the ‘incident’ involving Johnny Bairstow was barely classed as an incident and now Ben Duckett has been hanged, dragged and dismembered, The reason is what Trevor Bayliss calls “trivial”.
think about it. Trevor Bayliss, who does not take things lightly, called the events of one night “very insignificant”, but the ECB responded with this blunt and somewhat hysterical statement:
Following a disciplinary hearing with England Lions’ Ben Duckert, the ECB can confirm the following measures have been taken against the player.
– The maximum allowed fine has been imposed on England Lions players.
– Suspension from participation in the remainder of the current Australian Lions training camp.
– Issue a final written warning regarding his conduct as an England player.
Duckett will remain in Australia with the England Lions and return to England after training camp on December 17.
The ECB would not comment further.
Given this matter-of-fact reaction, many will no doubt give Duckett an impulsive kick. “Those darn divas, they make a ton of money, they have the privilege of playing sports for their country, but they keep disgracing the country…feed them to Ramsay Bolton’s dogs!”. But before you condemn him and praise Strauss for his harsh approach, consider this…
First, let’s look at the facts. No police were involved, the bar staff saw nothing to worry them and it was well past midnight in the late night bar. Almost everyone agrees with Baylis that the matter is insignificant – even to rank-and-file sources who often defend the ECB – but Duckett was publicly fined “for the circumstances” and suspension.
Well, I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but who exactly is responsible for causing (or at least exacerbating) the current climate? You guessed it, Andrew Strauss and the ECB overreacted every time English players behaved off par, and even the nun in the Sound of Music struggled to hold on. In the process, Strauss became England’s captain von Trapp: grim, humorless and utterly devoid of empathy.
The truth is, no one has perpetuated the current myth that England are uncontrollable villains more than Andrew von Trapp. He was played to the fullest by the Australian media. When it comes to “team culture” and implementing a “one size fits all” philosophy of punishing anyone who doesn’t have a good pair of shoes, no one does it better than the principal himself.
Apologies for this attack on our beloved director, but the way he handles these disciplinary issues really pissed me off. When news of Jonny Bairstow’s ‘headbutt’ broke, England should have dismissed it as nonsense, emphasizing that the team – which includes many suave characters such as Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook and Chris Woakes – usually Be harmless, and that’s a lot. Instead, he gave the Australian media more ammunition by adding fuel to the fire by publicly warning England players about their behaviour. They must have been rolling up and down the aisles of the Brisbane Express Post Office. I bet they couldn’t believe Strauss’ naivety.
Now Strauss makes the exact same mistake with Duckett. Instead of whispering a few words, asking him to shake Anderson’s hand and maybe give him a private warning, the ECB reacted as if Anderson had slapped an old woman, or called the pope a jerk. Plus, according to The Times, many players (not just Duckett) took part in the reception, which was good-natured fun rather than something more sinister like an argument or a public confrontation.
I’ve heard some argue that Strauss and/or Andy Flower acted quickly to stop the media, but I can’t agree more. I mean what the hell is the story here? “Fringe England player (unheard of in Australia) pours partner a glass at 1am”. That’s hardly a headline writer’s dream, is it? ! Duckett’s story is completely innocuous in comparison to the parties and late nights I’ve spoken to some former players about the England tour.
Unfortunately, Strauss’ reaction made things look worse. He also set a precedent that he may find difficult to uphold. When a senior game tester is accused of swearing or something very common, what does he do next? He also had to feed it to the dogs – regardless of whether the alleged incident was exaggerated or completely fabricated by some Australian bullshit.
Every time England makes a big fuss about an event, the Australian media makes a big fuss about it. Andrew Strauss is a man of many talents, but I doubt he will be hired by any PR firm anytime soon. He’s got a bar (iron bar?) on his back now, he’s setting unrealistic standards, and I suspect a group of young people (who, don’t forget, have been away from home for 3 months, are at the most extreme In case of stress) this can live up to.
However, what really frustrates me are these so-called disciplinary issues