Graham Thorpe’s position as England assistant manager is in doubt after the ECB launched an investigation into footage of Tasmanian police telling five Ashes stars – including Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson – of going to bed following a complaint about “intoxicated people”.
The incident, which was filmed by Thorpe but somehow ended up on the Sydney Morning Herald website, took place at 6am on Monday, just over eight hours after the end of the fifth and final testing in Hobart.
It shows Root, Anderson and three Australian players – Nathan Lyon, Alex Carey and Travis Head – being told to leave the hotel terrace the two teams share.
England quickly apologized “for any inconvenience caused”, but the ECB is furious – not only because Thorpe felt the need to film what happened on his iPhone or an iPad, but because the footage later reached the public domain, only hours after revelations emerged that a disastrous Ashes tour had been plagued by a drinking culture involving both players and backroom staff.
Police were called after a complaint from a member of the public, and one of the four officers can be heard telling the cricketers: ‘Too loud. You were obviously asked to pack your bags, so we were asked to come. Time to go to bed. Thank you. They just want to pack their bags. No further action was taken.
Graham Thorpe (left) filmed leaked footage which showed players being kicked out of a bar
Stunning footage has captured the moment Australian and England cricket stars were kicked out of a rooftop bar by police (pictured left: Nathan Lyon, pictured right: Joe Root)
Series man Travis Head was also among the crowd, in footage captured by the England assistant coach
As the players quietly walk away from a table full of half-drunk beer bottles, Thorpe provides his own commentary: “We have Nathan Lyon, Joe Root, Alex Carey, Jimmy Anderson… Just a video, just for the lawyers … say hello everyone.’
The incident could not have come at a worse time for the ECB. General manager Tom Harrison was already unimpressed with what he found during his three weeks in Australia, with questionable fitness levels, poor communication between management and players, accusations of “fat -shaming” and allegations of excessive drinking, all adding up to a loss. confidence in head coach Chris Silverwood.
Players from both sides are understood to have been sharing drinks in the Bellerive Oval locker room until around 2.30am on Monday – four and a half hours after Australia cruised to a 4-0 series win with a win of 146 points in the final test.
Once back at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Hobart’s central business district, about a 15-minute drive from the ground, some of the players – along with Thorpe – continued to drink on the fourth-floor terrace until the police arrive at 6 o’clock.
Police released a statement explaining that they had received reports of ‘intoxicated persons in a function area’. The guests were questioned by the police, just after 6 a.m., and left the premises when asked.
Thorpe faced the media during the Ashes, but should now face much more scrutiny
England players suffered an embarrassing 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia this winter
Head had only been crowned Ashes player eight hours earlier in the series
In a statement, the ECB said: “In the early hours of Monday, members of the England and Australia men’s teams shared a drink in the hotel’s team areas in Hobart.”
“Hotel management received a noise complaint from a member of the public and, as is common in Australia, local police attended the scene. When asked to leave by hotel management and Tasmania Police, the players and management in question left and returned to their respective hotel rooms. The English side apologized for the inconvenience caused.
“The ECB will investigate further. In the meantime, we will not comment further.
REVEALED: There was a BOOZE culture during the Ashes’ disastrous tour of England, with coaches drinking as much as players in hotel bubbles – and curfews are now likely to return on trips away
By Lawrence Booth
The Ashes’ disastrous trip to England has been further clouded by concerns over the development of a drinking culture among players and behind-the-scenes staff, as team chief executive Ashley Giles has prepared a report end of tour that could decide the fate of head coach Chris Silverwood.
With life in the bubbles sometimes restricting the movement of tourists, alcohol was more readily available than usual at the various team hotels – and making the most of the occasional night out was paramount.
Compensation has been awarded due to the claustrophobic nature of life during the pandemic, with the England team spending more time in bubbles than any other team in the world since a pandemic was declared nearly ago two years.
But some members of the coaching staff are said to have drunk as much as the players.
One possibility after the end of Covid restrictions is the return of the curfews imposed by former chief executive Andrew Strauss during the previous Ashes tour, when it emerged that Jonny Bairstow had welcomed Australian fly-half Cameron Bancroft with a whim in a bar in Perth.
England players suffered an embarrassing 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia this winter
Rules had been relaxed regarding alcohol before the tour given Covid restrictions
Strauss, who now chairs the ECB’s cricket committee, will assess Giles’ report, along with chief executive Tom Harrison, who was reportedly unimpressed with England’s setup during his three-week visit to Australia .
In a separate incident, one of the players refused to take a skin fold test and then claimed England were trying to ‘shame’ him.
A decision on Silverwood’s fate will need to be made quickly, with the England Test team set to depart for a three-match series in the Caribbean towards the end of February.
For his part, Silverwood insisted he wanted to stay on as England head coach – but admitted he could have ‘showed my teeth more’ to the players amid accusations of comfort in the locker room.
Since beating India in Chennai last February, England have lost 10 out of 14 Tests and won just one – their worst streak for 25 years. This left Silverwood’s fate dependent on both Giles’ post-series report and the opinions of Harrison and other members of the Performance Cricket Committee, chaired by Strauss.
There is a loss of confidence among the players in Silverwood’s ability and disappointment over miscommunication.
Before a test, the coach sat down to tell a player that he had been knocked out, only for the player to say that he had already read about his disappearance in a newspaper.
England head coach Chris Silverwood (left) awaits a decision on his future
England chief executive Ashley Giles is currently preparing an end-of-tour report
But Silverwood is adamant that with the help of a reformed national structure focused on the red ball, he can turn the tide. “My work will be under surveillance,” he said. “But I would like to help effect these changes within the structures of the county. I would like to correct some of that. I think I’m a good coach, but there are things that are out of my control.
Less than six weeks before England flies to the Caribbean, Harrison and Strauss have little time to make recommendations to the ECB’s board. But anyone emerging as a head coach may find powers diluted, with Silverwood struggling to balance day-to-day coaching with the dual demands of Test and white ball squads, as well as the role of head coach. .
Assistant coaches such as Paul Collingwood, head of the T20 team’s Caribbean tour, and Graham Thorpe could be called upon to take on more responsibility.
The hierarchy must also decide whether a combination of Root and Silverwood lacks a bad cop figure to tell the players the home truths, with Root admitting after the Hobart loss that “there might be times when we have to be a little harder.”
Silverwood said: “I try to work things out with them, rather than yelling or grumbling. I’m not afraid to show my teeth, but sometimes I wonder if I should do more. But does that make it less effective? I do not know.’
The wacky conclusion of the fifth test may not work in his favor. Silverwood said after the surrender: “I think they’re still playing for us.” What we have seen are tired players. It was hard to watch.
For now, he said he would “start planning for the West Indies” and consider options outside of the 16 who played in Australia. ‘What do we have over there? Do we need to make changes? Silverwood thinks.
That he asks these questions in a few weeks is the business of his bosses.