Michael Vaughan has dismissed the behaviour of some members of the England tour party as “just stupid” and suggested senior players should be setting a better example.
Vaughan, captain of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, claimed members of the England squad have been acting “like students” and said the culture of the team “in terms of alcohol needs to change.”
And so unimpressed is Vaughan by the antics of the current squad he feels punishments should be stronger to ensure players realise the gravity of the situation and “win back the trust” of the general public.
Speaking after Ben Duckett, a member of the England Lions squad, was suspended for the rest of the tour after he poured a drink over the head of James Anderson in a Perth bar in the early hours of Friday morning, Vaughan questioned why England were out late at night at a time their behaviour was under scrutiny following the Ben Stokes incident in September and the Jonny Bairstow incident at the start of the tour.
Vaughan was particularly shocked that members of the England squad should return to The Avenue in Perth, the same bar in which Barstow greeted Cameron Bancroft with a now notorious head-butt greeting.
“The perception of this England side is that they drink and party too much,” Vaughan said. “There’s only one way to deal with it: don’t do it.
“They’re going to have to spend a long time now as a team trying to earn back the trust of the supporters.
“The cultural side of what cricket is, in terms of the alcohol, I do think needs to change. The way they drink these days is different. They’ve gone into the world of what students do with big trays of shots.
“I would question the senior boys who were in that bar that night. They are the role models of the team that all those young players should be looking up to.
“With what’s gone on, you have to question what the hell are they doing out in a bar at that time? They’re not respecting themselves: if I was them, that would hurt me. They’re bringing a bad name on the team.
“When your team is under surveillance, to think you’ve gone back to the same bar where the Bairstow incident happened, the first night you’re back in town, it’s just stupid. You can’t fathom the mentality of a group of people, in a team room, who suddenly say ‘Right, we’re going out, we’ve found a venue, and you know what, we’re going back the Avenue bar’. It is stupid.”
Vaughan was especially scathing of Duckett. The 23-year-old had a great opportunity to stake a claim for a Test recall over the weekend but squandered his chance to play for the England XI in Perth with his behaviour in the bar.
As a result, Vaughan felt the team management should take strong action against the next player who steps out of line to ensure they take the situation more seriously.
“Duckett was playing for England on Saturday,” Vaughan said. “This was a chance. He isn’t currently in the Test team, but if he goes out and gets 150 then we all talk about his batting.
“So where is his mentality to want to stay out so late?
“He’s not a star player. We don’t think he’s a legend. He’s just an ordinary, decent player. Where was his mind-set?
“One or two other players who were out of the team were getting their opportunity to play on Saturday. What are they thinking going out that Thursday night?
“I’ve never agreed with curfews. It’s not the right thing, because you want people to act like human beings.
“But if you can’t trust them to act like human beings, you’ve got to bring a curfew in. How can Andrew Strauss or Joe Root stop someone being an idiot? I do think the actual punishment has got to be a little bit stronger now.
“I think it’s got to the stage that every single England cricketer needs to be sat in a room and told if you bring any bad PR on the team – and by the way, the surveillance will be on you – you just get sent home.
“I agree with Trevor Bayliss. If he feels he’s got to get rid of a few people, that’s what he’s got to do.”
Michael Vaughan was speaking on behalf of Yorkshire Tea and Chance to Shine, inspiring the next generation of cricketers