James Anderson has played down the incident in the Perth bar where Ben Duckett poured a drink over him. The England pacer also defended his team and said it wasn’t right to question team’s culture. Duckett has been suspended from all England Lions games and was fined by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the incident. Several off-field issues have put England’s Ashes tour in jeopardy, and the Duckett episode only added to the misery.
“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 a column for The Telegraph on Tuesday (December 12). “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 have been working really hard and every now and then on a tour like this, you need a release. We don’t shout about the things we do behind the scenes. We are not those type of people but, for example, five players from the squad have today 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.”
Anderson also acknowledged he’s prepared for all the banter that’s going to come his way from the Australian players about the incident. “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. They jump on anything to have a go at you so I am expecting a bit of lip. I have no problem with that,” he pointed out.
“We are all aware that from now on even a minor incident will be seized upon. There is also a bigger picture. The ECB have their sponsors and we have a job as role models to the next generation of cricketers who play this game so we have to stay away from silly things that can be misconstrued.”
England have lost the first two Tests and need to win in Perth to keep the series alive and their hopes of retaining the urn. Anderson stressed that the players have moved on and the focus is squarely on the series.
“The players have moved on already. Our main focus is getting back in the series. That is all everyone is talking about. The meeting we just had was all about bowling plans, batting plans and how we see ourselves performing in this Test. Nothing is going to distract us from winning here,” he wrote.
“As a bowling group we have been buoyed by dismissing Australia cheaply in Adelaide. We know the lengths we have to bowl here, which is a bit fuller, almost an English-style length.
“You have to keep an eye on the wind at the Waca and we chatted about that in the team meeting. When Mitchell Johnson played against us here he swapped ends when the wind changed direction and he sensed it would suddenly start swinging. You have to keep the ball in a good condition at the Waca as well because if you can get any sort of sideways movement it can be a great help when allied to the bounce.”