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England head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted that his side “have to be smarter” after their actions off the field.
Bayliss’ remarks come after rumours of an alleged altercation between England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow and Australia opener Cameron Bancroft emerged on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test on Sunday.
While it has been confirmed that Bairstow headbutted Bancroft at The Avenue bar in Perth earlier this month, both Bairstow and his Australian counterpart have confirmed that there was nothing malicious about his actions.
Bayliss has confirmed that no disciplinary action will be taken against Bairstow, but he admitted that the England players have to tread carefully in the future since incidents like this are tarnishing the team’s reputation and image.
“It has given not just the Australian team but the media the chance to get involved with stuff other than cricket,” Bayliss said. “That’s the disappointing thing and that’s what we’ve got to be better at. We can’t put ourselves in these situations however small they are. It’s a distraction.
“We want to get on with the cricket. But it has given the opposition ammunition to put pressure on as well. We are here to play cricket and we have to find a way to play as well as we can and have no distractions from outside that.
“There was no malice in it and Jonny did not break the code of conduct we had in place before this [but] I’m sure there will be a review of that. Probably we will tighten up curfews. I’m sure there will be further discussion between management and players.
“We have to be smarter. Most people like going out at night for couple of quiet ones, but you have to be careful you don’t do anything stupid. If that means not having anything to drink then so be it.”
Bayliss conceded that he was disappointed the incident occurred just a few months after Ben Stokes’ alleged street fight in Bristol, which led to him getting arrested and withdrawn from the Ashes squad.
“You can head out [in the evening], but obviously not be stupid,” Bayliss said. “That’s the disappointing thing, we make dumb decisions at different times.
“Yes, I thought players’ behaviour would change after Bristol as well. They would be extra dumb and stupid if it didn’t.”