Ben Duckett is to remain with the England Lions tour of Australia but will play no further part in any remaining matches and has received a final written warning over his conduct.
The 23-year-old batsman also faces the maximum fine ‘allowable for an England Lions player’ to complete his punishment for pouring beer over Test star James Anderson in a Perth bar.
Lions opener Duckett was left out of England’s two-day match against a Cricket Australia XI on Saturday after it emerged he had doused England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in a late-night prank. It is understood the fine imposed on Duckett is around £1500.
The incident occurred late on Thursday night when the Ashes tourists returned to the same bar in which Jonny Bairstow delivered his ‘head-butt’ greeting for Australia opener Cameron Bancroft at the start of their tour.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Duckett’s punishment in a brief statement yesterday.
It read: “Following a disciplinary hearing with England Lions player Ben Duckett, ECB can confirm the following measures have been placed on the player.
l Fined the maximum allowable amount for an England Lions player.
l Suspended from playing for the rest of the current Lions Australian training camp.
l Issued with a final written warning in respect of his conduct as an England player.
“Duckett will remain with the England Lions party in Australia and will return to England at the end of the camp on December 17.”
Duckett has therefore foregone the opportunity not just to play for a full England team over the weekend, in a match which was drawn, but also their remaining Twenty20 fixtures – scheduled to start against Big Bash team Perth Scorchers today.
Save for sending Duckett home immediately, which was mooted as a possibility, the outcome of his hearing appears to demonstrate that England are in no mood for any lenient responses to further transgressions.
Their full Ashes tour was beset by off-the-field issues before it even began, and has continued in the same vein.
Duckett and his Lions colleagues were joined by around ten members of the Ashes squad, freshly arrived back in Perth after going 2-0 down with three to play against Australia. It was also the first time they were no longer subject to a midnight curfew, imposed by ECB director Andrew Strauss at the end of last month in response to the embarrassment caused by Bairstow’s unusual but benign method of introducing himself to Bancroft.
Duckett’s drink-related antics therefore took place with England already at a low ebb, in danger of losing the Ashes in the next week and still without all-rounder Ben Stokes as he waits to hear whether he will be charged with causing actual bodily harm during a late-night fracas outside a Bristol club in September.
Fellow all-rounder Moeen Ali believes that England’s off-the-field culture needs to change.
Moeen, who led England for the first time in the drawn two-day tour match against a Cricket Australia XI, is teetotal and a practising Muslim, and could be forgiven for feeling a little mystified by events.
He said: “Obviously it’s a shame these things happen ... maybe the culture needs to change now. We want cricket to grow for kids, and for families to come and watch, so we have to be on our best behaviour. It’s not always easy, and the guys are on tour for a long time and feel like they want to go out ... [but] we have to behave ourselves. The off-field behaviour needs to improve, and we all know that.”