Ashes: Off-field incidents 'blown out of proportion' - David Gower

England win the Ashes in 1985
England players Allan Lamb, Mike Gatting, Ian Botham, David Gower and Paul Downton celebrate winning the Ashes for England at the Oval in 1985
Australia v England, third Ashes Test
Date: 14-18 Dec Time: 02:30 GMT Venue: The Waca, Perth
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

England's off-field incidents in Australia have been "blown out of proportion", former captain David Gower has told BBC Sport.

Jonny Bairstow "headbutted" Australia's Cameron Bancroft in a bar in October, while last week Lions batsman Ben Duckett was suspended for pouring a drink over bowler James Anderson.

But Gower, who played 117 Tests for England and led the 1985 Ashes-winning team, said: "When things are going well on the field it would be forgotten very quickly."

However, the 60-year-old, who scored 8,231 Test runs, conceded it can be difficult getting the balance right.

"Players need to let off steam," he said. "In my era players let off an awful lot of steam. The key thing is that if you are producing the right results on the pitch then people are very forgiving. You win and people are much more forgiving.

"I suspect these things are being blown out of proportion. The Duckett thing, although they are reacting very strongly to it doesn't sound much more than a slightly late night going ever so slightly wrong and in good days when things are going well on the field it would be forgotten very quickly.

"But nowadays it seems that every misdemeanour big or small or somewhere in between has to be stamped upon and that actually is quite unsettling for the team. I think the principle of responsibility is an important one - that players should take it and act accordingly - but overall I don't think it's as bad as it is made out to be.

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