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England stars lucky to avoid axe, insists Giles

 

By Robert Jones

Ashley Giles says he would have been tempted to send home some of England's players for bad behaviour during their Ashes tour of Australia.

England's poor performances on the pitch, which have seen them lose the series ahead of the start of the fourth Test overnight, have been compounded by incidents off it.

Ben Duckett, who is not part of the full Ashes squad, was given a suspension and a maximum £1,500 fine by the England and Wales Cricket Board for throwing a drink over vice-captain James Anderson, while Jonny Bairstow was previously involved in a headbutt incident during a night out in Perth.

Former spin bowler Giles, who played 54 Test matches for England and later worked as a selector, believes some of the current crop of players have lacked maturity.

"I think I would have been very tempted (to send some home)," the 44-year-old said.

"There comes a time when there's enough water gone under the bridge, a lot of it not very nice water, you have to make a stand and we're probably past that point. The whole thing sheds a bad light on England cricket but I think what we have to remember is these guys are extremely talented cricketers and they've got a great gift in what they do.

"It doesn't make them extremely mature individuals. And there's work to do there.

"If the maturity isn't there in the dressing room then they need quite strict guidelines and rules and whether that's a sad state of affairs or not, and a lot's been made of curfew, if people can't be trusted or mature enough to make the right decisions, you've got two choices - you either put things in place that don't give them so much freedom to make mistakes or you change the people.

"Over time, if you can't trust people to make correct decisions off the field, how can you trust them to make them on the field?"

England's struggles Down Under have put the spotlight on captain Joe Root.

The Yorkshire batsman has been heavily criticised, including by former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who said he has been "soft" and "looks like a little boy".

Giles believes those comments are harsh but admitted Root appears to have lost some of his enthusiasm.

"I don't think he's soft. He's always looked like a little boy - he can't help that," Giles said. "He's always played cricket like a man.

"I think what we are seeing is someone who looks pretty fed up and has lost some of his effervescence if you like, his fizz."

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