LONDON – England coach Trevor Bayliss was cautious about imposing player curfews during the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia in a bid to prevent the sort of incident that saw star all-rounder Ben Stokes arrested.
Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in Bristol and dropped for Wednesday’s fourth one-day international against West Indies at The Oval.
Stokes broke his hand in the incident that took place around 2.35am in Bristol on Monday following England’s 124-run win in Sunday’s third ODI in the south-west city.
The 26-year-old remains under investigation after being released without charge.
Nevertheless, he was included in England’s 16-man Ashes squad announced at The Oval before Wednesday’s match.
Stokes also retained his position as England’s Test vice-captain despite an incident that saw a 27-year-old man taken to hospital with facial injuries.
“What he has shown so far for us is that he is a leader within the group when it comes to cricket,” Bayliss told Sky Sports.
“There is no denying that, but I’m sure there will be some investigations going forward,” the Australian added.
“But at the moment, I am quite happy for him to be the vice-captain.”
Asked if he was “happy” England players were out in public in the early hours, Bayliss replied: “Definitely not.”
The incident has led to questions over whether England should impose a curfew during the Ashes.
“Certainly we will be looking into that,” said Bayliss, although the former New South Wales and Sri Lanka coach indicated he was no fan of curfews.
“I have been with teams before and we have had curfews, and that doesn’t work either,” Bayliss explained. “Whichever way you go, a lot of the responsibility comes back on to the players.
“They are adults and they have to take responsibility. They are professionals.
“The other night, a few guys being out was very unprofessional in the middle of a series,” he added, with England 2-0 up with two to play against West Indies.
Meanwhile, England great Ian Botham suggested Stokes follow his example by joining the “bat-cave club”.
As Stokes is now, Botham was the most high-profile England all-rounder of his generation and no stranger to off-field controversy.
During England’s all-conquering Ashes tour of Australia in 1986/87, Botham decided the best way to avoid trouble was by creating a “bat-cave”, a suite in the team hotel where he could invite friends rather than run the risk of a night out.
“Ben needs to understand that he is probably the most talked-about cricketer in world cricket at the moment,” said Botham, now a Sky commentator.
“Unfortunately, wherever he goes, he’s got to get used to the fact that there will be people who want a piece of him – particularly this winter in Australia.
“He’ll get in a taxi and the driver will want to have a go. He’ll get into the hotel and someone else will have a go.
“I’d suggest that he joins the bat-cave club,” the former England captain added.
“For all we know, he may be an innocent party in everything that has gone on – I hope that is the case. But what he’s got to do is start thinking ‘how do I keep Ben Stokes out of this situation?’
“You cannot be wandering the streets at 2.30am.”