James Anderson – leading wicket-taker of the England Team, on Wednesday, played down the Perth bar incident, saying ‘the incident with Ben Duckett was not malicious and was a bit of a non-event’.
On 10 December, England batsman Ben Duckett was dropped out of Australia tour after pouring a drink over James Anderson in a Perth bar, as well as he has been fined and given a final written warning.
Anderson further added that it is unfair to raise fingers on the culture of the England Team with some outside incidents. Although, he admitted that Duckett made a silly mistake by pouring a drink over him, but said the youngsters have to be smarter in the future in such climate.
In a column for The Telegraph, James Anderson wrote, “The incident with Ben Duckett was not malicious and was a bit of a non-event but we understand that in this climate we have to be smarter in the future. The frustrating thing is that what was a pretty silly incident would have gone unnoticed before but now puts an unfair question mark over our culture.”
The 35-year-old further added, “We have been working really hard and every now and then on a tour like this, you need a release. We don't shout about the things we do behind the scenes. We are not those type of people but, for example, five players from the squad have today gone to see an England fan who is terminally ill and can't come and watch the Test match. That sort of thing is not reported, which is fine, but is a fairer representation of this group of players rather than a couple of minor incidents in bars that have been blown out of all proportion.”
Anderson also acknowledged that the Australian players will use the Duckett incident during the Perth Test, but he's prepared for all the banter about the incident. He further added, “I know Australia will use the Duckett incident as a way of goading us, or taking the mickey. Fine. It will probably be funnier than what they have spouted at me so far in this series. They jump on anything to have a go at you so I am expecting a bit of lip. I have no problem with that.”
He further wrote of such incidents, “Having said that, we are all aware that from now on even a minor incident will be seized upon. There is also a bigger picture. The ECB have their sponsors and we have a job as role models to the next generation of cricketers who play this game so we have to stay away from silly things that can be misconstrued.”
As England have already trailing with 0-2 in the five-Test Ashes series and the Perth Test is a do-or-die game for the touring side, as they need to win the third Test to keep the series alive and their hopes of defending their Ashes title, and Anderson said their main focus is getting back in the series.
He wrote, “The players have moved on already. Our main focus is getting back in the series. That is all everyone is talking about. The meeting we just had was all about bowling plans, batting plans and how we see ourselves performing in this Test. Nothing is going to distract us from winning here.As a bowling group, we have been buoyed by dismissing Australia cheaply in Adelaide. We know the lengths we have to bowl here, which is a bit fuller, almost an English-style length.”
Anderson concluded by saying, “You have to keep an eye on the wind at the Waca and we chatted about that in the team meeting. When Mitchell Johnson played against us here he swapped ends when the wind changed direction and he sensed it would suddenly start swinging. You have to keep the ball in a good condition at the Waca as well because if you can get any sort of sideways movement it can be a great help when allied to the bounce.”