The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said it will investigate a drinking session marking the end of Australia’s 4-0 Ashes series win at a hotel in Hobart which police were called to break up.
Players and staff from both teams enjoyed a get together late on Sunday night – customary practice at the end of a tour – but their socialising proved too rowdy for someone outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel who complained after the boozy gathering spilled out on to an open air terrace.
A video clip emerged showing England captain Joe Root, record wicket-taker James Anderson – who had not played in the final Test – and Australian trio Nathan Lyon, Alex Carey and Travis Head sitting quietly at a table filled with beer bottles.
‘Time for bed’ group told
In the footage one of the four Tasmania police officers sent to deal with the complaint is heard saying “you’re too loud, you’ve obviously been asked to pack up”.
The cricketers are told it is “time for bed”, with a clock in the background showing the time as 6.30am.
They leave, watched by staff members, and a voice which appears to be that of England assistant coach Graham Thorpe identifies the group before adding: “Just video this for the lawyers.”
ECB will investigate further
An ECB spokesperson said: “During the early hours of Monday morning, members of the England and Australia men’s teams shared a drink in the team areas of the hotel in Hobart.
“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 left and returned to their respective hotel rooms. The England party have apologised for any inconvenience caused.
“The ECB will investigate further. Until such times, we will make no further comment.”
A statement from the local authorities said: “Tasmania Police attended the Crowne Plaza Hobart on Monday morning after reports were made of intoxicated people in a function area. The guests were spoken to by police just after 6am and left the area when asked. No further action will be taken by police.”
Claims of a drinking culture
A midnight curfew has been in place on all England trips since a number of late night incidents in the build-up to the last Ashes tour four years ago, but alcohol has been available in the communal bar areas shared by the teams during the Ashes.
When COVID restrictions have allowed, players have been able to enjoy nights out at certain times given they have had to undergo taxing ‘bubble’ conditions on numerous occasions and for long periods since the start of the pandemic.
But England management will be equally keen to quash talk of a drinking culture, and the matter could now form part of a tour review by Ashley Giles, the managing director of men’s cricket.