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England's bad eggs acting "like students", says former skipper


Michael Vaughan is aghast at the ‘stupidity’ of his countrymen’s late-night drinking and believes senior players have serious questions to answer, while Mitchell Johnson senses Alastair Cook is “thinking about retirement”, with a deflated and distracted England ripe to be rolled at the WACA.

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Former Ashes-winning captain Vaughan was speaking after Ben Duckett was handed a maximum fine, banned from playing for the remainder of England Lions’ trip and issued with a final written warning for pouring beer over James Anderson. 

Vaughan is incredulous that, on their first night back in Perth and after the Ashes squad’s curfew was lifted, 10 of them joined Lions colleagues in the very same bar which was the scene of Jonny Bairstow’s ‘headbutt’ greeting for Australia opener Cameron Bancroft.

“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,” Vaughan said.

“You can’t fathom the mentality of a group of people who suddenly say ‘Right, we’re going out, we’ve found a venue, and you know what, we’re going back (to) the Avenue bar’.

“You have one or two bad eggs and let’s be honest, they act like students when they go out, big trays of shots.”

He advocates one appropriate response for further transgressions. 

“How can (director) Andrew Strauss or (captain) Joe Root stop someone being an idiot?” he said. 

“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 you just get sent home. 

“I agree with (coach) Trevor Bayliss. If he feels he’s got to get rid of a few people, that’s what he’s got to do.”

He has little time either for the “excuse” that social media puts players in an impossible position. 

“It winds me up when I hear this social media is the problem,” Vaughan said. 

“Social media didn’t pour a drink over someone’s head; social media didn’t punch someone in the street in Bristol; social media didn’t introduce himself with a headbutt. 

“Social media didn’t release what happened on Thursday night. It’s an easy excuse. 

“The perception of this England side is that they drink and party too much. There’s only one way to deal with it – don’t do it.”

Vaughan’s comments came as Johnson, England’s chief tormentor with the ball four years ago when he led Australia to a 5-0 Ashes victory, turned up the heat on former captain Cook and current skipper Joe Root ahead of the third Test that starts on Thursday.

“England will struggle mentally,” Johnson said as Australia prepare their push for an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.

“There’s a lot of distractions, I think they’ll be deflated from the last performance.

“You’ve got guys like Alastair Cook, who is struggling. He can’t find form.

“I’d say he’s thinking about retirement. 

“Joe Root is the skipper and there’s a lot of pressure on him with what’s happening outside the game.”

They don’t really have a lot going for them

Johnson added Australia’s star-studded attack is yet to click but they have the potential to “really dominate world cricket” and already have England’s squad rattled.

“Very similar to 13-14,” he said, having joined Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for yesterday’s WACA training session.

Johnson resisted the urge to send a few down to former teammates, saying he was too nervous.

But he said Root’s problems went beyond negotiating a firestorm ignited by the latest alcohol-fuelled saga to affect the touring party.

“But also winning the toss and what he did last game was debatable and that’s got to mentally take its toll on him,” Johnson said.

“He’ll be questioning and doubting himself. Still talking about (Ben) Stokes.

“Then there’s (Jonny) Bairstow … he was going to be their next senior player to step up and we haven’t seen that yet.

“They don’t really have a lot going for them.”

Johnson claimed 37 wickets and man-of-the-series honours in the lopsided 2013-14 contest, which led to the retirements of veterans Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann.

The upcoming match is Cook’s 150th Test, with speculation growing he will soon give the game away.

“Cook is all over the place,” Pietersen said on the weekend.

“It just looks like Cook is not very interested … that’s the sign of a bloke who goes ‘you know what, maybe my time is up?’

“I don’t know if he can turn things around.”

Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins hadn’t played a Test together prior to the start of the season, but became friends when they were rising through the junior NSW ranks.

“They’ll get better throughout the series. They haven’t all clicked together and I think once they do click we’re going to see a pretty potent attack,” Johnson said.

“They all bring something different… they know each other really well which is a huge bonus.

“That’s what myself, Sidds (Peter Siddle) and Ryno (Ryan Harris) had (in 2013-14), we were really good mates off the field and that helps when you’re out in the middle in those tough times.”


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