James Anderson believes the incident that saw England Lions batsman Ben Duckett pour a drink over the bowler’s head was “blown out of proportion”.
Duckett was suspended from the remainder of the Lions tour after his prank on England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, which took place at the same bar in Perth where Jonny Bairstow delivered his ‘head-butt’ greeting for Australia opener Cameron Bancroft.
Both incidents have occurred during an Ashes tour that sees England trail 2-0 with three Tests to play, and less than three months after vice-captain Ben Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm outside a Bristol nightclub.
Anderson is aware the players are under bigger scrutiny, but downplayed what happened with Duckett.
“The incident with Ben Duckett was not malicious and was a bit of a non-event but we understand that in this climate we have to be smarter in the future,” he wrote in the Telegraph.
“The frustrating thing is that what was a pretty silly incident would have gone unnoticed before but now puts an unfair question mark over our culture.
“We are not those type of people.
"Five players from the squad have gone to see an England fan who is terminally ill and can’t come and watch the Test match.
"That sort of thing is not reported, which is fine, but is a fairer representation of this group of players rather than a couple of minor incidents in bars that have been blown out of all proportion.
“I know Australia will use the Duckett incident as a way of goading us, or taking the mickey. Fine. It will probably be funnier than what they have spouted at me so far in this series.”
England need to stop making the headlines for the wrong reasons Down Under, and start making them for the right reasons.