Graham Thorpe facing England sack after police break up 6am drinking session

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The ECB is investigating the video that shows Joe Root and James Anderson on a rooftop terrace in Hobart
The ECB is investigating the video that shows Joe Root and James Anderson on a rooftop terrace in Hobart

Graham Thorpe is on the brink of the sack as England assistant coach after it emerged that he had smoked a cigar inside the team hotel and filmed police breaking up a players’ drinking session hours after the end of the final Ashes Test.

Furious English cricket chiefs have launched an investigation in the wake of the all-night party, which involved players from both England and Australia and which was ended by Tasmanian police shortly after 6am on Monday morning.

It is understood that Thorpe filmed the incident and sent it on to friends. It was then circulated more widely and ended up in the hands of the Australia media.

In the footage, four police officers can be seen arriving at the party to confront players including captain Joe Root, veteran bowler James Anderson and three Australian players – Alex Carey, Travis Head and Nathan Lyon – some of whom are still in their playing whites.

Police, accompanied by hotel staff, ask the partying players to quieten down and stop drinking. “Too loud,” a female police officer is heard telling the group. “You have obviously been asked to pack up, so we’ve been asked to come.”

Speaking from behind the camera, Thorpe, is heard to say, "this is for the lawyers." He also goes on to name every player present.

Telegraph Sport understands that a noise complaint, as the group played music from the balcony on the fourth floor of the building, was made to the team hotel, the Crowne Plaza Hobart, where both sides were staying for the fifth Test. It was reported that complaints had also centred on Thorpe deciding to smoke a cigar inside the building, which is illegal in Tasmania.

The players and management had stayed at the ground in Hobart until 2.30am because the fifth Test ended late and they had media duties to perform as well as sort out kit bags. They started drinking in the dressing room and while some went to bed when they returned to the hotel, others went to the Australia team room, which had a balcony, and carried on.

English cricket authorities are understood to be more angered by the fact the incident was filmed and then somehow entered the public domain, rather than the fact that players were drinking. No Covid regulations are believed to have been breached.

Thorpe and other coaches were already under pressure after the team’s performance in the Ashes and this has only exacerbated fears of a drinking culture - first revealed by Telegraph Sport on Monday - within a squad that was one wicket away from a whitewash and had been bowled out in just 38.5 overs only hours before.

“During the early hours of Monday morning, members of the England and Australia men's teams shared a drink in the team areas of the hotel in Hobart,” the ECB said in a statement.

“The hotel management received a noise complaint by a hotel guest, and is commonplace in Australia, the local police attended the scene. When asked to leave by hotel management and the Tasmanian police, the players and management in question left and returned to their respective hotel rooms.”

“The England party have apologised for any inconvenience caused. The ECB will investigate further. Until such times, we will make no further comment.”

Tasmania Police have also released a statement, confirming that they were called to the teams’ hotel after a complaint regarding “intoxicated” individuals.

“Tasmania Police attended the Crowne Plaza Hobart on Monday morning after reports were made of intoxicated people in a function area,” the statement read. “The guests were spoken to by police, just after 6am, and left the area when asked. No further action will be taken by police.”

Crowne Plaza Hobart general manager Linda Collis told the Sydney Morning Herald and Age: “To the best of my knowledge there was some noise complaints from outside.

“We’re in the middle of the city and there is noise and other things. We get all sorts of random things and police will turn up. There was nothing untoward. No one was removed from the hotel. It’s not uncommon to get people complaining about noise.

“Everything has been pretty smooth sailing, and we were happy for Hobart to have the cricket down here and have the teams down here.”

With two days to spare before England’s players return home, most of the squad have remained in Hobart until their scheduled flight on Wednesday.

The restricted environment under which this tour has unfolded, and which has prevented both sets of players from visiting public spaces for much of the series, has meant that instead alcohol was more readily available at the teams' hotels.

However, with no more immediate fixtures to protect, members of both England and Australia’s squads have been seen out partying around Hobart both throughout the day on Monday and deep into the night.

Another party involving England players at the team hotel continued into the early hours of Tuesday morning, the day after the leaked footage was filmed.

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