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England's late-night antics bring Morris headache

David Hopps

August 26, 2013

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook kisses the Ashes urn, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 5th day, August 25, 2013
England's players began in choreographed fashion before becoming more unpredictable as the night wore on © PA Photos
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Officialdom beamed down on England after their third successive Ashes victory but the ECB hierarchy might feel obliged to take a more dim view of an alleged late-night celebration which ended with them urinating on The Oval pitch on which they had completed their triumph only hours before.

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, has had matters of rather more import to deal with, but it will invite a troubled shrug nonetheless on a day when it has been confirmed that he is resigning to take up the vacant chief executive's role at Glamorgan.

It will be dismissed as a supreme irrelevance by many - it is quite a trek from the Oval square to the nearest toilets - but it is bound to be viewed as distasteful in other quarters and presented as an example of the laddish culture which pervades English society.

Australian cricket journalists were still at The Oval, completing dead-of-night tour pieces with the help of free beer and sandwiches from the ECB, when they reported seeing several England players take it turns to relieve themselves on the pitch. It is not known how much they relieved themselves but reportedly there was more than enough to fill an Ashes urn.

It was enough for Ben Horne of AAP to term it a "distasteful finale" and report that "cleaning staff and other game day workers were still present at the ground."

Malcolm Conn, chief cricket writer for News Limited, described the ground as "quite dark" and said that players were "gathered near the pitch celebrating and yahooing".

England's celebrations had begun in a more carefully choreographed manner, with the obligatory fireworks and champagne at the awards ceremony and players holding their children in their arms as they strolled around the outfield shaking hands with the crowd.

They then returned to the dressing room with a quiet celebration with their families before the players themselves moved to the centre of the Oval to continue what their captain, Alastair Cook, had described as a deserved few beers, chatting among themselves and cherishing privately what they had achieved.

Uninhibited post-series celebrations are regarded as part and parcel of professional team sport in England, a final restatement of team morale and a release from the strict professionalism, with few opportunities for downtime, which is now the lot of an England cricketer.

But judging by reports from Australian journalists, who arguably represent more dangerous opponents to England than their team, England's players, who are well practiced in zipping up their mouths in an era of cautious media comments, may now have to receive training in zipping up their trousers.

Morris' first task will be to ascertain whether England's behaviour carried any deeper significance other than the urge to relieve themselves. Certainly England's weak bladders provided final justification for all those toilet breaks, but were there other more worrying explanations?

Was it an indication of what England's players think of the dry surfaces on which they have won the Ashes series - surfaces which suited them but which often demanded laborious cricket? Australians scoffed that this was the first watering England's Test pitches had had for months.

Were they paying homage in a strange fashion to the antics of Monty Panesar, whose place in England's Ashes squad for the return series is in jeopardy because he urinated from on high on a Brighton nightclub bouncer?

Or were they simply marking out their territory after dismissing Australia 3-0 in the five-Test series? It is common in cats, especially male cats. Neutering is often proposed as a solution.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AbbasFaisal on (August 29, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Why isn't this being investigated by the ICC or the ECB. And if the players are found guilty of doing what they are alleged of, they should be punished. One just can't let go such stupidity and disrespect. This is just total non sense.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

It sounds like a nice tribute to Monty.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

Did they wee on the pitch or the ground? On the pitch then they should serve bans. On the outfiled not fussed...

Posted by unbiased_referee on (August 28, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

True to form, this is ironical, as Cricket supposedly is England's "national" sport. This more than "laddish" behaviour on the part of England Cricketers can simply not be played down by issuing rhetorical statements on part of officials. Literally they may be simply there, but they have shown how "high-school-kid-like" some Eng cricketers metaphorically are!!!

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

I guess, one had a "Gotta go" and after that it was pure peer pressure.....

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (August 27, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Im now expecting variable bounce on a good length for the next Surrey home match.

Posted by baranasai on (August 27, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

The People who show humbleness and lovable smile carry themselves as lovable sports men Look for eg Nadal Federer etc whether they loose or gain they conduct themselves in an utmost professional way. England are worthy winners by a mile and they would have gained much more respect if they have quietly celebrated without disrespect to the opponents-it would have been highly appreciated. They simply blew the chance and got the bad boy name now .The aussie media will be high lighting this for ever. Common England you don't need to go into footballers route

Posted by londondoc on (August 27, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Disgusting and disgraeceful. I was at the Oval and saw Swann having a go at a 12 year old kid for not saying ' please' while asking for an autograph- although the kid had said it and Swann couldnt hear it. Swann then broke into a lecture about how manners were so important. Maybe he needs to give his mates a crash course in manners before preaching to the general public

Posted by Showbags88 on (August 27, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

It's funny how England called us bad winners when we won nonstop for 20 years. Well they have taken the notion of bad, arrogant winners to a new level. Most of us remember the sprinkler antics after the 2011 series. They have no class whatsoever and are full of their own self importance. All I can say is pride comes before a fall.

Posted by cloudmess on (August 27, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

In 2005 Ashes, the Aussies trashed the England dressing-room after their Lord's victory, pouring beers over lockers and kits. Read Justin Langer's autobiography, it's all in there. I'd say that's a little more disrespectful than weeing behind a sightscreen - but really did anyone care then either? Australia media, get off your high horse, accept the best team won and stop finding pathetic, straw-clutching ways to denigrate England.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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