The England & Wales Cricket Board has reassured its sponsors they have control over player behaviour after two high profile court cases..
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the ECB, warned teams they have to stay on top of dressing room culture and the board will be “redoubling efforts” before the start of next summer to ensure players know exactly the standard of behaviour expected as the game looks to launch its Hundred ball competition aimed at family audiences.
Ben Stokes was cleared of affray at Bristol Crown Court last year but along with Alex Hales later pleaded guilty to bringing the game into disrepute at an ECB disciplinary hearing. Alex Hepburn, who plays for Worcestershire, is facing the prospect of a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on two counts of rape at Worcester Crown Court last week.
At the weekend Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Hepburn’s former team-mates at Worcestershire, were stood down from the current Lions to India after details emerged in court of their involvement in a sexual conquest game on the messaging service, Whatsapp.
“The reason why commercial partners get involved is because the culture beneath our game is something that attracts people, what cricket means beyond the performance of the England teams is this underlying sense of decency and team spirit. The spirit associated with the game is hugely important so we take it incredibly seriously,” said Harrison. “We work very closely with partners on all matters, not just matters of culture but clearly there is a concern out there with commercial partners about some of the stories. But we work very closely with them to explain what we are doing on the back of some of these societal trends that are coming into the game.”