Cricket

JASON GILLESPIE: I don’t understand the uproar over England’s post-Ashes drinking session

JASON GILLESPIE: Aussies will have learned a lot from drinking session with Joe Root and James Anderson which was a private interaction between fellow pro-sportsmen… I don’t understand the public uproar

  • Jason Gillespie says England’s Hobart drinking session has faced unfair scrutiny
  • Joe Root and James Anderson were socialising with their opponents until 6am
  • Gillespie believes it was a chance for Australian players to learn from their idols
  • The Australian is impressed with Yorkshire’s appointment of coach Ottis Gibson 


Playing Ashes cricket allows great rivalries but also great friendships to form and so it was disappointing that the post-series drinks shared by Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and some Australian players was scrutinised in the public domain this week.

Arguably it would not have been given such projection but for the emergence of video footage but what should be remembered is that these guys had given their all in Ashes battle over seven weeks of living in restricted bubbles, they were being respectful to their opponents and observed all the Covid protocols. This was a private interaction between fellow pro-sportsmen.

Some of the focus was on the fact that they were out until 6am but you must remember the game didn’t finish until 10.30 at night and the teams were still in the dressing rooms until the early hours before heading back to their hotel.

Nathan Lyon was among the Australian players who socialised with opponents after the Ashes

England captain Joe Root was seen at the crack of dawn at a bar in Hobart after England's Ashes defeat

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)

I was pleased that the players were able to play the game hard and fair on the field but relax and enjoy each other’s company off it.

Speaking to Travis Head and Alex Carey, two players I coach at South Australia, they said the opportunity to sit and talk cricket with Root and Anderson, legends not only of English cricket but the world game, was invaluable.

It was not as if the five players involved were sozzled, they were just enjoying each other’s company, sharing cricket stories and discussing their journeys in the game. Travis and Alex are both relatively new to international cricket in comparison to Joe, Jimmy and Nathan Lyon. They were like kids in a candy store.

Since returning to us at Adelaide Strikers both Travis and Alex have been able to reflect not only on good performances in the Ashes but the opportunity to socialise with their opposition, guys who they’ve admired and looked up to over the years. Ashes cricket is about sharing ideas and memories and learning from them.

During my playing days with Australia, it was commonplace to drink with the opposition at the end of the series. Remember, a lot of guys know each other reasonably well through county cricket. 

There are some fairly strong connections between Australian and England Test cricketers too. I recall a Test match in Adelaide in 2002-03 when Darren Lehmann was fielding at short leg and Craig White, his brother-in-law, walked out to bat. As Darren hunched in his fielding position, something caught his eye. ‘You’ve nicked my shoes,’ he said.

Craig had been at the Lehmann house having dinner one evening, saw them in a box on the coffee table and found them too tempting. It was a priceless on-field moment.

When I think back to the 2005 Ashes, yes we were bitterly disappointed to lose but even in real time we all appreciated it was a pretty iconic series and my memories of the Edgbaston Test which England won by two runs include lads mixing, having a drink.

Travis Head is coached by Jason Gillespie at South Australia

Joe Root led England through a hugely disappointing Ashes series

Jason Gillespie says players like Travis Head (left) will have learned a lot from talking to Joe Root (right)

In the old dressing rooms there, the opposition teams were right next to each other with the shower and toilet block behind both. At lunch and tea, before play and after play, players spent time alongside each other in the communal corridor area. 

It seemed that every time you went out there, Freddie Flintoff would be sat on a step smoking a fag with an energy drink in his hand during playing hours or a beer if it was after play.

He would give you a raised eyebrow, a wink and a smile. On the field it was a different story and that kind of sums up the special relationship players on both sides of the Ashes divide have.

Yorkshire have appointed former West Indies all-rounder Ottis Gibson as their new head coach

Yorkshire have appointed former West Indies all-rounder Ottis Gibson as their new head coach

Looking forward, I’m really pleased that Yorkshire got their man in Ottis Gibson.

Darren Gough is a good mate of mine and he said Ottis was a real target for him and feels his appointment as head coach is a real coup for the club.

It remains a club I love and want nothing but success for, so I’m really excited too. All supporters should be.


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