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Headbutt from England cricketer was 'weird not malicious'

Australia's Cameron Bancroft said he and Jonny Bairstow 'got along well'.

England's Jonny Bairstow and Australia's Cameron Bancroft.
England's Jonny Bairstow and Australia's Cameron Bancroft. PA

Australia opener Cameron Bancroft has spoken out for the first time since he was allegedly headbutted by England wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow.

The Ashes newcomer said it was "really weird" but that they "got along well" for the rest of the night out in Perth four weeks ago.

Describing the "random" encounter, Bancroft said: "I don't know Jonny Bairstow but, you know, he says hello to people very differently to most others and we got along for the rest of the night quite well and let it go and moved on from it and it was fine."

The England and Wales Cricket Board has spoken to Bairstow after reports emerged describing the alleged altercation.

But Bairstow had previously laughed off the incident saying: "He just, yeah just greeted me with a headbutt kind of thing."

Bairstow on Day 5 of the First Test match between Australia and England.
Bairstow on Day 5 of the First Test match between Australia and England. PA

Speaking at a press conference following England's defeat in the first Test of the Ashes, he added that there was "no intent, nor malice about anything during the evening".

Captain Joe Root earlier downplayed the reports, saying "a mountain's been made out of a molehill".

The incident was revisited with levity on the Australia bench during the conference, in which Bancroft drily gave his version of events - leaving Australia captain Steve Smith in fits of laughter.

He said: "I remember it very clearly. We just won a sure game for WA (Western Australia). At the same time obviously that coincided with the English team arriving in Perth for the tour game and it was very friendly, mingling the whole night, some of our players knew some of the English players, things like that.

Bancroft (left) and Steve Smith (right) laugh off the alleged incident.
Bancroft (left) and Steve Smith (right) laugh off the alleged incident. PA

"As the night progressed it was great to be able to meet some of those guys, I got into a very amicable conversation with Jonny and you know, he just, yeah just greeted me with a headbutt kind of thing.

"I was expecting a handshake, it wasn't the greeting of choice that I was expecting and that was the way that I took it.

"There was certainly no malice in his action, we continued on having very good conversation for the rest of the evening."

Asked if the wicketkeeper apologised, Bancroft said: "At the time he said sorry. For me personally it was just really weird - obviously it was so random and I certainly didn't expect it coming.

"As I said a handshake or a hug would have been something I would have expected more than a headbutt. As I said there was certainly nothing malicious about his action."

Smith stifles his laughs during press conference.
Smith stifles his laughs during press conference. PA

Asked to describe the alleged headbutt, Bancroft said: "He didn't, like knock me over. I've actually got the heaviest head in the Western Australia squad, it's been measured.

"There's an actual measurement for it so yeah, just took the blow quite well and moved on from it.

"It was a good hit. Play on."

Bancroft alleged Bairstow "connected with my head and with a force that would make me sort of think wow, that's a bit weird, and that was it."

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