Police break up post-Ashes party; ECB launches investigation
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will investigate after police were called to break up an early-hours drinking session at the team hotel.
England and Australia’s players and staff got together to mark the end of the Ashes at the tourists’ Hobart base.
Video shows England captain Joe Root, bowler James Anderson and Australia trio Nathan Lyon, Alex Carey and Travis Head being told to disperse by police.
“The England party have apologised for any inconvenience,” said the ECB.
“The hotel management received a noise complaint by a hotel guest and, as is commonplace in Australia, the local police attended the scene.
“When asked to leave by hotel management and the Tasmanian police, the players and management in question returned to their respective hotel rooms.
“The ECB will investigate further. Until such times, we will make no further comment.”
The investigation will not only focus on the incident itself, but also how the video of the police intervention got in the public domain.
The video showed four officers ordering Root, Anderson, Head, Carey and Lyon, who were sat around a table populated by beer bottles, to disperse from a roof terrace.
It was shot by England assistant coach Graham Thorpe, who can be heard naming the players and saying he was “videoing this for the lawyers”.
Thorpe took charge of England for the drawn fourth Test in Sydney when head coach Chris Silverwood was in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
England’s coaching team were already under pressure following England’s 4-0 series defeat.
The incident comes the day after a newspaper report suggested a drinking culture had developed on the tour among England staff and players, exacerbated by COVID restrictions placed on the tourists.
Tasmania police confirmed they were called to the Crowne Plaza hotel after 06:00 local time following a report of “intoxicated people”. They said no further action would be taken.
Analysis (BBC Sport chief cricket writer Stephan Shemilt)
The fact that England and Australia players were drinking together after the series is not new or shocking, neither is the fact they were socialising until the early hours – post-match duties at the end of the day-night Test would have gone on until midnight on Sunday.
The most embarrassing thing from England’s point of view is that the video of the police intervention has been widely shared online. How did it get out? And why?
Serious questions will be asked of Thorpe, whose position was already under scrutiny given the dismal performance of England’s batters across the Ashes series.
It is a fittingly low end to what has been a miserable Ashes tour. (BBC Sport)