first_imgAshes 2017-18 Australia sport Share on Twitter Pietersen was none too complimentary about the other batsmen, either. Later it seems that he became more animated when asking on this extravagantly punctuated tweet: “What the hell is happening in English cricket?!?! Strauss????? It’s becoming a f*****g embarrassment!”So this tour is becoming something of a nightmare for the English management, who took active steps to expose Duckett’s “unacceptable” behaviour.They might have adopted the risky strategy of keeping the incident to themselves and allowing Duckett to play at Richardson Park. Andrew Strauss, back in England, will be appalled at the turn of events. Conversely it is hard to tell who is enjoying Strauss’s discomfort more, KP or the Aussies. Read more Topics Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. 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Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn The Observer Support The Guardian England cricket team The Ashes Another day in the paradise that is Perth that didn’t quite go according to plan for the England touring party. For a start there was rain about but there was no Ben Duckett about. He was supposed to be playing in the game; he was on the team sheet issued by the management on Thursday; but on Saturday morning he was replaced by Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke, and not because the selectors have suddenly realised the need for more right‑handed batsmen to combat off‑spinners such as Nathan Lyon and Ravi Ashwin.It is all about another bar, another late-night incident, another self‑inflicted blow that suggests a shambolic set of self-indulgent England cricketers drowning themselves in alcohol in Australia.This always seems to happen on the first night in Perth when no curfew has been imposed. Duckett, it should be stressed, is in the Lions squad rather than the senior one. Moreover these England cricketers probably do not drink more than their predecessors. But they perhaps do not drink as wisely or as well. The risks of this kind of incident taking place are significantly increased by the number of England cricketers in Australia, many of whom do not have much major cricket to play.Given the febrile atmosphere of this tour, the Lions suddenly come under the same sort of scrutiny as the senior Ashes side.So Duckett could be given a severe punishment to encourage the others not to be so daft. An early flight home he could bear; being removed from the shortlist of England hopefuls might be more painful. There is a certain amount of paranoia on this subject, not to mention media interest. The perception could be that England have an alcohol problem among a small minority of their squad and they have a batting problem: there are situations vacant, right-handed teetotallers preferred.On another tour the Duckett incident would be a pinprick. But on this one Trevor Bayliss’s reaction might easily have created a predictable, exasperated rhyming couplet. Against the backdrop of the weird “head-butt” affair on the first night in Perth back in October that has since tormented Jonny Bairstow, this matter is being treated very seriously. England’s tour has been haunted by their players’ nocturnal activities – as well as a shortage of runs from the top seven. In the past the Lions management has sought to set a stern precedent about player behaviour on tour – without conspicuous success. In February 2013 Kent’s Matt Coles was sent home from Australia early for alcohol-related offences. Thereafter Coles disappeared off the international radar.Duckett himself has a bit of form. He was removed as captain of the England Under-19s after failing a fitness test; he missed a pre-season tour for Northamptonshire for the same reason and he has been to court on a drink driving charge. These incidents do not sit prettily on his cricketing CV despite his obvious talent. And now this.It may not help his career prospects if he deposits large quantities of alcohol over the head of a senior colleague, which he appears to have done to Jimmy Anderson in the dreaded Avenue bar in well-to-do Claremont. Duckett has picked a bad time to transgress, though this may not be the first time.On top of all that Kevin Pietersen, in Australia as a BT Sport expert, popped off the golf course to do some more helpful punditry, during which he suggested that Alastair Cook did not look very interested – it was four years ago that Paul Downton, then the new England and Wales Cricket Board cricket director, observed that he had never seen anyone look so “disinterested” on a cricket pitch as Pietersen during the Sydney Test. Reuse this content Share on Messenger Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Since you’re here… Cricket Share on Facebook commentlast_img

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