Ashes: Jonny Bairstow 'headbutt' - ECB furious over silly act & England players grounded

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What really happened between Bancroft & Bairstow?

For a while, there was a fear that what took place between Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft in a bar in Perth four weeks ago could have quite serious implications for England's Ashes tour.

When you hear that someone has been headbutted in a bar, it sounds like an assault.

Bairstow is a bouncy, larger-than-life, smiley character. There was no way I could imagine that he had landed a headbutt on anyone.

I did not think it would be serious, but I did worry that if there was any question about his behaviour - he received a warning about his conduct in October - that England would have to dish out a pretty severe punishment, possibly even sending him home.

As it turned out, that clearly was not the case, and instead we have a tale of Bairstow's slightly unusual way of greeting people. Hopefully Jonny will think that a handshake is the way to go in future, but I still might be a little more cautious when I next say hello to him.

The incident has been dealt with, England have said that Bairstow will not be disciplined and Bancroft gave a hilarious news conference at the end of Australia's 10-wicket win in the first Test in Brisbane. The series moves on.

But anyone who has taken the slightest interest in the England team over the past couple months will know it is really not that simple.

Ben Stokes remains in the UK, awaiting the outcome of a police investigation after he was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm for his part in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

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That the England and Wales Cricket Board has once again had to defend the team has left the hierarchy absolutely furious.

Coach Trevor Bayliss, who spoke to the media before Bancroft's one-man show, is incandescent.

Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket, has gone into the team room and delivered an absolute rocket.

While publicly they have defended Bairstow, I suspect that behind closed doors he has been read the riot act.

I do not think we will be seeing that team out and about in Adelaide. They have effectively been grounded.

All of the hard work of trying to restore the image of the team after the Stokes controversy has been undone by an act of silliness.

It is debateable whether or not keeping the team from going out is the right response to one member doing something rather strange, but you are a team and you accept responsibility as a collective.

Frankly, in the aftermath of this, they cannot be seen out and about. The England team can leave no doubt over their commitment to getting back into this Ashes series. There have been too many bad headlines and a line has to be drawn.

Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft shake hands after Australia's win in the first Test
Jonny Bairstow (right) and Cameron Bancroft (centre) shook hands after Bancroft hit the winning runs in the first Test

England must address image problem

I have seen accusations that the England team have a drinking culture. That is not something that I have witnessed personally but, then again, I probably would not go to the same places they do.

However, they do have an image problem.

The management was meticulous in preparing for this tour. They knew the pitfalls of touring Australia and how the locals would use anything they can to unsettle England.

This was perfect and the Australia players exploited it when Bairstow was batting on the fourth afternoon in the Gabba.

It was not aggressive sledging - it was done to distract Bairstow from his batting, which is what the best comments do. Umpire Marais Erasmus heard one of the players say: "Get your helmet, Cam, here comes Jonny."

On top of that, it causes a disruption to England's preparations for the second Test in Adelaide starting on Saturday, a match they really cannot lose if they are to have any chance of retaining the Ashes.

When they land at the airport they will have television cameras stuffed in their faces - anyone who saw the treatment South Africa captain Faf du Plessis got after the 'mint-sucking' controversy here last year will know exactly what it is like.

Cameron Bancroft and David Warner celebrate Australia's win in Brisbane
Cameron Bancroft (left) made an unbeaten 82 as Australia completed a 10-wicket win on the fifth morning in Brisbane

England's challenge is now to move on, to forget about this and concentrate on taking victory at the Adelaide Oval.

We have said for some time that the day-nighter, with the pink ball, represents perhaps their best chance of winning a Test on this trip.

They must also hope that it does not affect the game of Bairstow, who has the crucial roles of keeping wicket and scoring runs in the middle order.

Above all, it is a lesson to those who do not know what it is like to tour this lovely country.

The Australians are always out to get England, and it is England's job to give them as little ammunition as possible.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt.