The England team are to be provided with extra security at the Ashes this winter, as the ECB reacts to Darren Lehmann's suggestion that the Australian public "give it" to Stuart Broad "right from the word go".
Lehmann has apologised to Broad for making the remark and told him that his comments were "just jest done in banter", but Andy Flower was particularly unamused by Lehmann's words, which were made on Triple M radio. "I think when we are put in these positions they are fairly responsible positions and I think that you have to take those responsibilities seriously," he said. "I don't think that was a well-judged thing to say."
Lehmann said that the fall out from his comments had been "a good learning curve for a new coach".
Broad may have a little explaining to do himself, seeing as he, Kevin Pietersen, and James Anderson have all been accused of urinating on The Oval wicket late in the night after the close of play on Sunday. The team decamped from the dressing room to the pitch to carry on their celebrations, and were out in the middle singing Wonderwall together at 11pm on Sunday night. The three are then supposed to have relieved themselves on the pitch.
Flower chuckled when he heard of the indignant Australian reaction to England's antics. "Really? That's interesting," he said, before pointedly adding, "Well, it's nice to be able to celebrate a win. England's managing director, Hugh Morris, said he wouldn't comment until he knew what the facts were. Pietersen is away on holiday, while Broad has gone down to Southampton to join up with England's T20 squad.
Talking of watershed moments, Flower said that Monty Panesar may have reached one in his career. Flower said that England had not considered picking him for the fifth Test, because they felt it was too soon after his embarrassing behaviour on a night out in Brighton. But Panesar will definitely be available for selection in the winter. "It's not as if it didn't happen," he said of Panesar's recent trouble. "But there's got to be a cut-off time at which time he is available. The Ashes away is a few months away." It is, but the fractious atmosphere between the two teams looks set to linger.
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