Stuart Broad plays straight bat after being caught up in controversy
By Matt Somerford
England are ready to move on from the furore over their Ashes celebrations, after issuing a team apology following allegations they urinated on The Oval pitch.
While their statement did not specifically refer to any of the players' late-night toilet habits, after a 3-0 Test series win had been confirmed last Sunday, apologies were made for a "simple error of judgement".
Stuart Broad, one of the players who was alleged to have been involved, met the media on Wednesday for the first time since the incident, ostensibly to preview Thursday's opening NatWest Twenty20 international against Australia in Southampton.
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The 27-year-old was, however, primarily tasked with fielding questions over his own controversial Ashes campaign which is set to cast him as the pantomime villain 'down under' this winter.
While he was content to talk about the prospect of being followed by "rock star" security in the return series, the antics of his team-mates late last Sunday were quickly brushed over.
Asked who had decided to release Wednesday's statement, he said: "The whole England side, all the guys thought that a statement would put an end to it, and I think it has."
When Broad was quizzed further, an England spokeswoman said: "We've issued the apology and we've got nothing more to say on that.''
The claims against the England players arose following eyewitness accounts from Australian journalists, who were still in the ground while England celebrated in the middle of The Oval.
The England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement which read: "The England cricket team would like to state that during our celebrations after winning the Ashes at no time was there any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, The Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love.
"As a team, we pride ourselves on respecting all things cricket including the opposition and the grounds we play at. We got carried away amongst the euphoria of winning such a prestigious series and accept that some of our behaviour was inappropriate.
"If that has caused any offence to anyone we apologise for that and want to reassure people that it was a simple error of judgement more than anything else."
While the ECB may have felt a sense of tedium about the furore over The Oval celebrations, Broad is likely to face vastly more contestant pressure 'down under' during this winter's return Ashes tour.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann stoked up Antipodean antipathy last week when he told a Melbourne radio station that he hoped his side's fans would "send Broad home crying", after labelling him a cheat for not walking after he was caught at slip during the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Lehmann apologised to Broad for the comments after the Oval Test, but there are suggestions security around the right-armer will now be beefed up this winter.
Broad does not intend to let that affect his time in Australia. "I'll feel like a rock star with some big heavies behind me. I'm not concerned at all," he said.
"I've toured Australia a couple of times. I've always loved Australia it's a fantastic place to go with great restaurants and good bars. I see that as being no different."
For now, at least, Broad is hoping to keep the pressure on Australia in today's Twenty20 international.
Australia have not won an international fixture since February 10 this year – after winless tours of India and so far in England – and Broad hopes to maintain that run.
"Any time you step on the field in an England shirt you are looking to beat the opposition," he said.
"We know Australia are a dangerous team and we know they will be hungry to beat England. They've not beaten England in England since June 2010 in any format.
"It's up to us to continue that form and that responsibility falls on these players. It's an exciting responsibility."
Story and picture © Press Association