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I was 'stitched up' by Aussies over headbutt incident – Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow reiterated there was no wrongdoing following his coming together with Cameron Bancroft prior to the Ashes.

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

JONNY BAIRSTOW BELIEVES he was “stitched up” by Australia over his headbutt incident with Cameron Bancroft as the England wicketkeeper opened up on sledging during the Ashes.

While Ashes holders England find themselves trailing Australia 2-0 in the best-of-five series, Bairstow has been the name dominating headlines after it emerged he headbutted batsman Bancroft in a bizarre incident prior to the Tests.

The revelations came to light during the Ashes opener – a 10-wicket rout for Australia in Brisbane last month – after on-field comments made by the hosts were picked up by the stump microphones and Bairstow faced the media following the match to play down the headbutt.

Australia opener Bancroft also said there was no malice in a light-hearted news conference after the pair came together at a bar in Perth as England prepared to face a Western Australia XI.

And Bairstow has spoken publicly again about the incident after England lost the second Ashes Test by 120 runs in Adelaide, insisting there was no wrongdoing.

“Our security were there and happy nothing happened. Sorry, if I had headbutted someone I think they would have known all about it and damage would have been done,” Bairstow wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “How can I describe it? Boys being boys, I guess. But there was minimal contact, I can tell you that.

“No offence was taken and, talking to some of the Australian boys, they didn’t know anything about it until just before some of their players made comments to me about it during the Test at The Gabba. Those comments were picked up by a stump microphone and suddenly it had snowballed.

“Did I feel as if I had been stitched up? Yes I did in many ways, but at the same time I honestly never thought of it as anything to worry about. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and, more importantly, the team and management knew that too.

“Australia, as they have admitted, were trying to use it to get under my skin.”

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There have been reports that sledging directed towards Bairstow has overstepped the mark, former England captain Bob Willis complaining of “unpleasant” and “personal” barbs.

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