James Anderson has addressed the latest incident to have unsettled England's Ashes tour by describing Ben Duckett pouring a drink over him in a bar as "a non-event", although he admitted that the squad need to avoid further controversies while in Australia.
Writing in his Telegraph column, Anderson said the players had moved on from "what was a pretty silly incident". Duckett has been suspended from playing for the Lions after the episode in Perth last Thursday, which added fuel to suggestions that England's squad has a problem with drink.
"The incident with Ben Duckett was not malicious and was a bit of a non-event but we understand that in this climate we have to be smarter in the future," Anderson wrote. "The frustrating thing is that what was a pretty silly incident would have gone unnoticed before but now puts an unfair question mark over our culture.
"We have been working really hard and every now and then on a tour like this you need a release. We don't shout about the things we do behind the scenes. We are not those type of people but, for example, five players from the squad have today gone to see an England fan who is terminally ill and can't come and watch the Test match. That sort of thing is not reported, which is fine, but is a fairer representation of this group of players rather than a couple of minor incidents in bars that have been blown out of all proportion."
Anderson said he knew Australia would use the disruption to their advantage as they try to secure the Ashes at the WACA. But he added that the squad was once again fully focused on the third Test, starting on Thursday.
"We are all aware that from now on even a minor incident will be seized upon," Anderson said. "There is also a bigger picture. The ECB have their sponsors and we have a job as role models to the next generation of cricketers who play this game so we have to stay away from silly things that can be misconstrued.
"I know Australia will use the Duckett incident as a way of goading us, or taking the mickey. Fine. It will probably be funnier than what they have spouted at me so far in this series. They jump on anything to have a go at you so I am expecting a bit of lip. I have no problem with that."