Not out: England coach defends bad boy Ballance’s drunken antics after Tab scoop
Peter Moores issues statement reminding England’s number three batsman of his ‘responsibilities’
England cricket coach Peter Moores has said batsman Gary Ballance will face no disciplinary action despite the Tab publishing pictures of the England batsman “absolutely fucked” in a Nottingham nightclub.
The 24-year-old was spotted by England fans in Pandora’s Box nightclub on Sunday night along with team-mates James Anderson, Joe Root, and Liam Plunkett, as they celebrated Anderson’s record innings in the first Test against India.
However, while Anderson’s sublime batting had caught the eye during the day, the night belonged to Ballance. England’s number three batsman told fans in the club: “I’m not a cricketer tonight, I’m just a drunken bastard. I’m absolutely fucked”.
Despite his laddish behaviour, England coach Peter Moores has said there is “no need for any disciplinary action”.
He said: “I am aware that some of the England players were caught on camera relaxing after the conclusion of the recent Trent Bridge Test match.
“As the players had been released at the end of the first Test and were not due to meet up to begin preparations for the second Test until Monday evening, and there were no suggestions of impropriety, there is no need for any disciplinary action.
“I will however be reminding all players of their responsibilities to uphold the best possible image for England cricket.”
We’re going to guess that “best possible image” isn’t meant to involve stripping topless and getting so drunk that you need to be carried out of the club at the end of the night.
One punter said: “They had to carry him out at the end of the night. He was standing outside with his top off screaming ‘England! England! England!”
While Cook won the toss at the start of the second Test this morning, the only thing Ballance was tossing back on Sunday night were £3 doubles.
Our witness – a customer at the club – said: “He made the evening. He tipped the bar staff £20 and was buying a few. He bought a round of six double vods and four Jägers for a few girls.
“A song came on and he clearly enjoyed it so he removed his top.”
Should Ballance be called upon to bat at any point today, his footwork will have to be as good as it was on the dance-floor on Sunday, though it’s unlikely the Lord’s crowd will be too happy if the batsman decides to combat the fast-medium bowling of Mohammed Shami by stripping to his waist and jump around.
Cricketing legend Jonathan Agnew joked about the pictures on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra this morning, remarking that it was “good to see Ballance with his shirt on”.
“Everyone has cameras these days,” he continued. “I expect Peter Moores will have had a quiet word with him about that”.
Award-winning journalist Piers Morgan, who is at Lord’s for the second test following the cancellation of his poorly-received US chat show, had some words of advice for England’s cricketer: “Save the partying for when we win a game”.
Morgan also took the story as an opportunity to point out that “Mr Trouble” Kevin Pietersen, recently dropped by England, had never been caught in such a situation, seemingly forgetting the time KP flew home injured from the World Cup in 2011, only to be spotted in a seedy nightclub two days later.
Ballance’s behaviour, which took place just three days before today’s Test, are not the first instance of England players going out on the piss between crucial back-to-back games.
Last month Cook defended his side after Joe Root and Sam Robson were spotted stumbling out of a London nightclub.
He told the Evening Standard magazine: “That’s just an age thing. I’m sure in my days I’ve visited Mahiki when we’ve won a Test match.”
“Having a night out with a few of the boys is fine. My job is to lead the team and set the standards for what I think is acceptable to play for England.”
With the next test starting today, star bowler Anderson facing a potential ban, and England without a Test win in nine matches, Captain Alastair Cook will hope his number three batsman has arrived at Lord’s with a clear head, especially as England are likely to bat first should they fail to win the toss.
Let’s hope Gary manages more than a few singles…