Nielsen defends Clarke, Hughes over ‘out on town’ drinking before losing Ashes

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MELBOURNE - Australian coach Tim Nielsen has defended Michael Clarke and Phil Hughes over allegations that the two batsmen were drinking the night before the team lost the Ashes on home soil.

According to reports, Clarke and Hughes were drinking at a Melbourne bar well into the night on the eve of their humiliating defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

A photo has also emerged of the cricketers posing with fans at ‘The World Restaurant and Bar’ in Southbank, reportedly taken just 12 hours before the Australian team took to the field on the fourth and final day of the Test.

The thrashing led to England retaining the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years.owever, Nielsen defended the cricketers, saying that the evidence available shows that the two players were well behaved and had simply enjoyed drinks with dinner.

“These guys are playing cricket all day, every day. And they’re never playing at home. They were out for dinner. All the information we received straight after the incident was that they were out for dinner together and nothing, but polite and courteous to the people out in the public,” the Age quoted Nielsen, as saying.

“They posed for photographs and signed autographs, they talked about the Test match. I can promise you they wouldn’t have been feeling great because we were under pressure in the Test and going to the fourth day looking like the Ashes were going to be lost.”

“I don’t really mind what anybody says. (But) I can’t expect - I won’t expect - any of my players to sit in their hotel room for 250 nights of the year, especially if they’re having a bad day or a good day,” he added.

Earlier, former Australian cricketer Dean Jones had said that it was unusual to see elite sports stars having a few drinks in the middle of competition.

“I think that’s half the problem with the culture of the actual team at the moment, why it’s struggling. It’s almost imploding on itself in certain areas whereby some of them are crying out for help and need advice and they’re not getting it,” Jones had said. (ANI)

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