Andrew Strauss dismisses Jonny Bairstow headbutt incident

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After the incident with Ben Stokes back in September, when the English cricketer was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm, it is now Jonny Bairstow who makes the headlines.

The Yorkshire cricketer Bairstow "bumped heads" with Australia's Cameron Bancroft in a bar during their Ashes tour. The pair did not take the incident seriously, as it seemed to be just a weird friendly gesture, but since becoming public knowledge la made a huge story out of it.

According to Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket, though, it is not a big deal, because this is 'something he (Bairstow) does with his rugby mates'.

Anyway, Strauss believes these situations can be avoided if the players are "using their intelligence in the right way".

"Quite frankly, we need to sharpen up our act," Strauss explained to BBC Sport.

After England's 10-wicket defeat by Australia in the first Test on Monday, Bairstow wondered how much the situation with Bancroft - which took place on the first night of the tour - was "blown out of all proportion".

Bancroft also laughed off the incident, while the pair was sitting relaxed next to each other, explaining the situation. Although Bancroft confessed he was a bit surprised by Bairstow's approach, he took it on the funny side and there is zero offence between them.

Strauss seems to understand the nature of this gesture and revealed Bairstow has been known to do it before.

Australia v England - First Test: Day 4

"It's something he does with his rugby mates. 

"It was a jest, a joke. It's just a little bump of heads. It's not a headbutt. I don't think it's been reported accurately.

"When people mention a headbutt, there's a connotation around aggression, malicious behaviour, intent to hurt. It was anything but this.

"He was completely baffled, surprised and shocked that this was a massive issue."

England v West Indies - 4th Royal London One Day International

Strauss said Bairstow, who made 9 and 42 at the Gabba, was shocked by the public reaction.

"He's pretty contrite right now. He understands that it wasn't the most sensible thing for him to. 

"As we've seen from the way Cameron Bancroft has reacted, there was no offence taken.

"It's a minor issue but it highlights the fact that minor issues can become major issues."

The Stokes incident took place outside a Bristol nightclub, while the Bairstow episode took place in a bar in Perth as Bancroft and his Western Australia team-mates celebrated victory over Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield, Australia's domestic competition.


After the Stokes and Bairstow incidents, there have been plenty of critics claiming is something wrong with the English cricketers when they go out. Nevertheless, Strauss denied that there is a drinking culture in the team, but said players must be more careful with the situations they participate in.

He added: "What might have been acceptable in the old days is no longer acceptable. 

"They are adults - intelligent adults - and sometimes they are not using that intelligence in the right way."

"The last thing any of us want is to be in the news for the wrong reasons and I will be reminding the players of their obligations."

The second Test in the Ashes is scheduled to get underway on Saturday.

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Jonny Bairstow
Australia cricket
The Ashes
England cricket

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