LONDON: In a distasteful postscript to their Ashes triumph, three top England players were on Monday at the centre of a huge controversy following reports that they allegedly urinated on the pitch at the Oval hours after the fifth and final Test ended last night.
The allegations, which originated from Australian journalists who were at the press box as darkness enveloped the ground, involved Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and Jimmy Anderson who had all made significant contributions to England’s 3-0 triumph in the series.
The players are alleged to have taken turns to urinate on the pitch after they sat on the ground with their post-match drinks, according to an Australian journalist.
The three players relieved themselves on the pitch to the cheers of teammates as the England players celebrated the victory.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior tweeted a picture of the players drinking beer on the Oval pitch in darkness, calling it the “best moment of the Ashes”.
Britain’s Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that the allegations will be examined but England coach Andy Flower refused to comment.
Robertson said, “If it happened it is not good behaviour”.
According to media reports, about five hours after the last Test was stopped due to bad light with England close to victory, the players gathered near the pitch to continue their celebrations.
While the centre of the ground was quite dark, lights were on in the grandstands with people still cleaning up after a late finish, which saw the game go beyond usual time.
The incident has for sure taken some sheen away from England’s win over arch-rivals Australia who failed to rise to the occasion.
Curator Cam Sutherland said that it was not a “good look” and called it unfortunate.
The final Test match of the series ended in a dramatic draw on Sunday after umpires took the players off for bad light, with England needing 21 to win in four overs.
There was controversy surrounding the ending and the umpires, Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena, and Australian skipper Michael Clarke were booed by the home crowd.
However, the result did not seem to dampen English euphoria as the players celebrated in the most unusual manner.
The Ashes series had been dogged by controversies from the very first Test with the Decision Review System being the centre of intense debate.
Many of the decisions under the DRS came under sharp attack from both the teams, prompting the International Cricket Council to issue clarifications on the efficacy of the technology.
Stuart Broad’s decision not to walk after clearly edging the ball in the very first Test created a lot of bad blood between the two teams and set the tenor for the remainder of the five-match series.
Australian coach Darren Lehmann lashed out at Broad saying the pacer would not be spared by the Aussies when England travel Down Under for the return series.
Lehmann had accused Broad of “blatant cheating” and called on fans to send the fast bowler home from the return Ashes series in tears.
Lehmann was fined 20 per cent of his match fee after pleading guilty to a charge of publicly criticising and making inappropriate comments against Broad in relation to an incident that occurred in a match.
Australian captain Michael Clarke was also jeered by the English crowd after the match yesterday.
An Australian daily wrote: “In one of the great ironies of the tour Clarke was booed by the crowd during the presentations despite his declaration saving a dead match. The team that deserved to be booed was England, which crawled along at two runs an over during the third day.”
The incident of players allegedly urinating on the pitch came close on the heels of England discard Monty Panesar peeing on a bouncer following a heated argument in a pub. He was subsequently fined and issued an apology through his spokesperson.
Panesar, subsequently, was relieved by his county Sussex before the expiry of his contract. He was however taken by Essex.