REVEALED: Coach Graham Thorpe could lose his job after it emerged HE filmed England’s humiliated Ashes stars being KICKED OUT of a hotel bar at 6am after ‘loudly’ drinking all night with the Australia team who thrashed them
- Graham Thorpe’s position as England assistant coach is in doubt this morning
- Thorpe filmed leaked footage of England’s Ashes stars being kicked out of a bar
- Group including Nathan Lyon, Travis Head and Joe Root were spoken to by police
- Some players – including Lyon and Alex Carey – were still wearing their whites
- England’s Jimmy Anderson was also in the group who were sat around a table
Graham Thorpe’s position as England assistant coach is in doubt after the ECB launched an investigation into footage of Tasmanian police telling five Ashes stars – including Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson – to go to bed following a complaint about ‘intoxicated people’.
The incident, which was filmed by Thorpe but somehow ended up on the website of the Sydney Morning Herald, took place at 6am on Monday, just over eight hours after the end of the fifth and final Test at Hobart.
It shows Root, Anderson and three Australian players – Nathan Lyon, Alex Carey and Travis Head – being told to move from the terrace of the hotel the two teams have been sharing.
England quickly issued an apology ‘for any inconvenience caused’, but there is fury at the ECB – not only because Thorpe felt the need to film what happened on either his iPhone or an iPad, but because the footage then reached the public domain, only hours after revelations emerged that a disastrous Ashes tour had been hit by a drinking culture involving players and back-room staff alike.
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 have obviously been asked to pack up, so we’ve been asked to come. Time for bed. Thank you. They just want to pack up.’ No further action was taken.
Graham Thorpe (left) filmed leaked footage which showed players getting thrown out of a bar
Astonishing footage captured the moment Australia and England’s cricket stars were kicked out of a rooftop bar by police (pic left: Nathan Lyon, pic right: Joe Root)
As the players move quietly away from a table full of half-drunk beer bottles, Thorpe provides his own commentary: ‘We’ve got Nathan Lyon, Joe Root, Alex Carey, Jimmy Anderson… Just video this, just for the lawyers… say good morning, everyone.’
The incident could not have come at a worse time for the ECB. Chief executive Tom Harrison was already unimpressed by what he found during his three weeks in Australia, with questionable levels of fitness, poor communication between management and players, accusations of ‘fat-shaming’, and claims of excessive drinking all adding up to a loss of confidence in head coach Chris Silverwood.
It is understood players on both sides shared drinks in the Bellerive Oval dressing-rooms until around 2.30am on Monday – four and a half hours after Australia had clinched a 4-0 series win with a 146-run victory in the final Test.
Once they returned to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the central business district of Hobart, about a 15-minute drive from the ground, some of the players – as well as Thorpe – carried on drinking on the fourth-floor terrace until the police arrived at 6am.
The police issued a statement explaining that had received reports of ‘intoxicated people in a function area. The guests were spoken to by police, just after 6:00am, and left the area when asked.’
Thorpe faced the media during the Ashes but is now set to be under far deeper scrutiny
England players suffered an embarrassing 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia this winter
Head had only eight hours earlier been crowned as the Ashes player of the series
In a statement of their own, the ECB said: ‘During the early hours of Monday morning, members of the England and Australia men’s teams shared a drink in the team areas of the hotel in Hobart.
‘The hotel management received a noise complaint by a member of the public, and as is commonplace in Australia the local police attended the scene. When asked to leave by hotel management and the Tasmanian police, the players and management in question left and returned to their respective hotel rooms. The England party have apologised for any inconvenience caused.
‘The ECB will investigate further. Until such times, we will make no further comment.’
REVEALED: There was a BOOZE culture on England’s disastrous Ashes tour, with coaches drinking just as heavily as players in hotel bubbles – and curfews are now likely to return on away trips
By Lawrence Booth
England’s disastrous Ashes trip has been further clouded by concerns over a drinking culture developing among players and backroom staff, as the team managing director Ashley Giles prepared an end-of-tour report that could decide the fate of head coach Chris Silverwood.
With bubble life at times restricting the movement of the tourists, alcohol was more readily available than usual at the team’s various hotels — and that placed a premium on making the most of the occasional night out.
Allowances were made because of the claustrophobic nature of life during the pandemic, with the England team spending more time in bubbles than any other side in the world since a pandemic was declared almost two years ago.
But some members of the coaching staff are understood to have been drinking as heavily as the players.
One possibility after Covid restrictions come to an end is the return of the curfews imposed by former managing director Andrew Strauss during the previous Ashes tour, when it emerged that Jonny Bairstow had greeted Australian opener Cameron Bancroft with a headbutt in a Perth bar.
England players suffered an embarrassing 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia this winter
Rules had been relaxed regarding alcohol ahead of the tour given the Covid restrictions
Strauss, who now chairs the ECB’s performance cricket committee, will assess Giles’ report, along with chief executive Tom Harrison, who is believed to have been unimpressed with the England set-up during his three-week visit to Australia.
In another incident, one of the players declined to take a skin-fold test, then claimed England were trying to ‘fat-shame’ him.
A decision on Silverwood’s fate will need to be made quickly, with England’s Test team set to leave for a three-match series in the Caribbean towards the end of February.
For his part, Silverwood has insisted he wants to stay on as England head coach — but admitted he could have ‘shown my teeth more’ to the players amid accusations of dressing-room cosiness.
Since beating India at Chennai last February, England have lost 10 Tests out of 14 and won only one — their worst sequence for 25 years. That has left Silverwood’s fate dependent both on the post-series report by Giles and the views 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 at poor communication.
Before one Test, the coach sat down to tell a player he had been dropped, only for the player to say he had already read of his demise in a newspaper.
England head coach Chris Silverwood (left) is awaiting a decision about his future
England’s managing director Ashley Giles is now preparing an end-of-tour report
But Silverwood is adamant that, with the help of a reformed red-ball driven domestic structure, he can turn it around. ‘My job will be under scrutiny,’ he said. ‘But I would love to help effect those changes within the county structures. I would like to put some of this right. I think I’m a good coach, but there are things that are out of my hands.’
With less than six weeks before England fly to the Caribbean, Harrison and Strauss have little time to make recommendations to the ECB board. But whoever emerges as head coach may find powers diluted, with Silverwood struggling to balance day-to-day coaching with the dual demands of the Test and white-ball teams, plus the role of chief selector.
Assistant coaches such as Paul Collingwood, in charge of the T20 team’s tour of the Caribbean, and Graham Thorpe may be asked 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 home truths, with Root admitting after the Hobart loss that ‘there might be times where we need to get a little bit harder’.
Silverwood said: ‘I try to work through things with them, rather than shout or growl. I’m not afraid to show my teeth, but I sometimes wonder whether I should do it more. But then does it make it less effective? I don’t know.’
The farcical conclusion to the fifth Test may not work in his favour. Silverwood said after the surrender: ‘I believe they’re still playing for us. What we saw was players that are tired. It was hard to watch.’
For now, he said he would ‘start planning for the West Indies’ and considering options outside the 16 who played in Australia. ‘What have we got out there? Do we need to make changes?’ Silverwood pondered.
Whether he is asking those questions in a few weeks’ time is a matter for his bosses.
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