Australia opener Cameron Bancroft has described an incident where he was allegedly headbutted by England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow as “really weird” but without malice.
Describing the “random” encounter, the Ashes newcomer said: “I don’t know Jonny Bairstow but, you know, he says hello to people very differently to most others and we got along for the rest of the night quite well and let it go and moved on from it and it was fine.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board has spoken to Bairstow after reports emerged describing the alleged altercation in Perth four weeks ago.
Speaking at a press conference following England’s defeat in the first Test of the Ashes, Bairstow said there was “no intent, nor malice about anything during the evening”.
Captain Joe Root earlier downplayed the reports, saying “a mountain’s been made out of a molehill”.
The incident was revisited with levity on the Australia bench during the conference, in which Bancroft drily gave his version of events – leaving Australia captain Steve Smith in fits of laughter.
He said: “I remember it very clearly. We just won a sure game for WA (Western Australia). At the same time obviously that coincided with the English team arriving in Perth for the tour game and it was very friendly, mingling the whole night, some of our players knew some of the English players, things like that.
“As the night progressed it was great to be able to meet some of those guys, I got into a very amicable conversation with Jonny and you know, he just, yeah just greeted me with a headbutt kind of thing.
“I was expecting a handshake, it wasn’t the greeting of choice that I was expecting and that was the way that I took it.
“There was certainly no malice in his action, we continued on having very good conversation for the rest of the evening.”
Asked if the wicketkeeper apologised, Bancroft said: “At the time he said sorry. For me personally it was just really weird – obviously it was so random and I certainly didn’t expect it coming.
“As I said a handshake or a hug would have been something I would have expected more than a headbutt. As I said there was certainly nothing malicious about his action.”
Asked to describe the alleged headbutt, Bancroft said: “He didn’t, like knock me over. I’ve actually got the heaviest head in the Western Australia squad, it’s been measured.
“There’s an actual measurement for it so yeah, just took the blow quite well and moved on from it.
“It was a good hit. Play on.”
Bancroft alleged Bairstow “connected with my head and with a force that would make me sort of think wow, that’s a bit weird, and that was it.”
Bairstow told the conference: “We were just in the bar having a good laugh, a good evening out, it was very enjoyable.
Watch the press conference when Bancroft discusses the incident below.
“Cameron and I enjoyed the evening and continued to do so, there was no intent, nor malice about anything during the evening.
“As you can see out there today there’s no animosity between myself, Cameron or any of the other Australian players and hopefully now we can swipe this underneath the table, continue what’s going to be a fantastic and exciting series and we move on from there.”
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