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No curfews for England as Bayliss sanctions 'sensible' drinking

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Getting drunk is the best form of team bonding - KP (1:45)

In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Kevin Pietersen says if he was coach he would allow the players freedom to go and 'do what you want, but don't get caught. (1:45)

Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach, has confirmed that there will be no curfews imposed on his players during the forthcoming Ashes, but added that "sensible" guidelines have been drawn up in the wake of Ben Stokes' arrest outside a Bristol nightclub last month.

Speaking in Perth during England's first nets session since arriving in Australia, Bayliss reiterated his long-held belief that personal responsibility is a key aspect of being a professional cricketer, and added that England's players themselves had decided when is and isn't acceptable to have a drink and enjoy the experience of being on tour.

"Not drinking between matches is just sensible," Bayliss told the BBC. "There's been no set curfews. I think they're just sensible rulings.

"To me, they're what we should be sticking to anyway as a player or someone around a professional set-up. The players have sat down and had a chat and they're the ones that've come up with it."

With Stokes withdrawn from the tour pending further investigation into the incident outside Mbargo nightclub on September 25, and following the disciplining of three other players who had been out that night - Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett -England's captain, Joe Root, was forced to deny last week that the England team is beset by a drinking culture.

But Bayliss believes that instilling a siege mentality in the wake of the Stokes incident would undermine England's hopes of success in the Ashes.

"We certainly don't want to put too many curfews on them that keep them in their rooms," he said. "It's a long tour, you've got to get out and experience the country that you're touring."

His comments echo the views of Kevin Pietersen, a three-times Ashes tourist, who last week told ESPNcricinfo that nights out on long tours were a vital factor in team bonding.

"When we had the great tour Down Under in 2010-11, we had the most incredible couple of nights out at the start of that tour, which brought the team so close together," Pietersen said. "I know that it sounds so stupid, but if you go and get hammered as a team on a night out - as senior and junior players - the bonds you can create there are better than any ridiculous sessions you can do in the forest in Germany."

Bayliss admitted that the aftermath of the Stokes arrest had been a "difficult time" for the team, but that their arrival in Australia had helped to focus their minds on the task at hand.

"It's a month ago now, and certainly the guys here in Australia have gone about their business and there hasn't really been chat about it all," he said. "Everyone's been concentrating on what we need to do to win this series."

He conceded that Stokes' absence was less than ideal but echoed Joe Root's pre-departure statement that the team were preparing to be without the allrounder.

"It's something you'd much rather do without," Bayliss said. "The Australian media will hammer away and try to put the pressure on in other areas as well. We have to try to deal with that and keep it separate from what we are doing on the practice field and in matches.

"Root said the other day himself. They are concentrating on playing without him. If we worry too much about whether he is or he isn't, that takes the focus off what we are doing. If we see that creeping in with the players, we will stop it as soon as we can. They are getting on with it well."

He also gave an indication of England's thinking about how they would rebalance the side, with Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes set to move up the order in order to accommodate another bowler.

"Having to replace Ben and the combination that we come up with requires doing a bit of both," Bayliss said. "Personally I think we have to play a bowler in his place which makes our batting not quite as long but when you have Chris Woakes at No. 8, that's probably the combination I've been after for a while.

"Mooen Ali batting as low as No. 8 for the last couple of years I think that's a waste. I think it's something that as the team develops over the coming years, that's a combination that we will get to. We have had problems at the top of the order so having Mo at eight and Woakes nine suited us. It's been successful, so no problems there. Eventually Bairstow and Ali at six and seven and Woakes at eight is a combination England will end up with."