England’s Ashes tour lurched towards a new crisis here today after another incident in a Perth bar left another player suspended.
Ben Duckett, who was due to open in England’s two-day tour match against a Cricket Australia XI, was sensationally left out at the last minute when it emerged he had become involved in trouble on Thursday night.
The Northants batsman was immediately suspended by England from what would have been the perfect opportunity to re-stake his claim for higher honours while an urgent disciplinary investigation took place.
Ben Duckett has been suspended by England after becoming involved in trouble on Thursday
Duckett, 23, has been touring Australia with England Lions and was one of a number of second-string players promoted for this tour match while senior players rested ahead of next Thursday’s must-win third Test.
But in a barely believable turn of events, yet another England cricketer has become embroiled in an incident that leaves the reputation of the touring team in tatters and open to more accusations of a drinking culture.
To make it potentially even worse, a number of the full England squad were also present at the bar and formed part of the investigations being conducted here today by coach Trevor Bayliss and his Lions counterpart Andy Flower.
Other players could yet be implicated in an investigation that also included England team director Andrew Strauss, who is enduring the biggest crisis of his time in charge of an England team who are two down in the Ashes.
First Ben Stokes and Alex Hales became involved in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September that led to England’s best player being investigated for allegations of assault.
Then, on the very first night of their Ashes tour, Jonny Bairstow was accused of head-butting Australia’s Cameron Bancroft during a night out attended by several players that led to a curfew being inflicted on the team.
Strauss decided to lift the curfew for certain nights after defeat in Adelaide in the second Test and this episode has now happened late at night on an evening where the players were allowed to go out again in Perth.
The England team held a Countdown-style quiz at their Perth hotel on Thursday after their arrival in West Australia, with Gary Ballance as their quizmaster, and were then allowed to go out afterwards.
Yet even though they have been warned repeatedly about their conduct and told to cut out the ‘dumb’ acts by Bayliss, the England team have somehow got themselves involved in another incident that brings shame onto the team.
Sportsmail understands no members of the public were involved and there was no police involvement but no more details of what actually happened have emerged yet. England’s security staff were again at the bar involved.
Duckett, a gifted, attacking strokemaker, played in four Tests for England last winter but drifted out of the first team picture after struggling against Bangladesh and India, particularly the spin of Ravi Ashwin.
He is no stranger to controversy and has made a court appearance for drink driving as well as being once dropped from the England Under 19 team for fitness issues. Duckett was also left out of Northants tour to Barbados in 2015 but seemed to have learned his lesson when an outstanding 2016 brought him promotion to the full England side. Now he could be sent home from this tour in disgrace while plummeting England into even more turmoil ahead of their date with destiny in Perth on Thursday.