Jonny Bairstow believes he was "stitched up" by Australia over his 'headbutt' greeting for Cameron Bancroft.
Jonny Bairstow believes he was "stitched up" by Australia over his 'headbutt' greeting for Cameron Bancroft - which he describes simply as a case of "boys being boys".
Bairstow found himself in the Ashes headlines for the wrong reasons when Australian opener Bancroft told his team, and then the world, of the moment the England wicketkeeper chose the unusual method to introduce himself in a Perth bar at the start of the tour six weeks ago.
As Joe Root's team return to Perth, 2-0 down already before the third Test, Bairstow has spoken publicly about the incident for the first time since a brief statement after the series opener in Brisbane.
It was there that Australia made capital out of Bairstow's faux pas, reminding him of it in the middle and Bancroft then conducting a comedic press conference after the chat had been picked up by broadcasters on stump microphone.
Bairstow insists he was never concerned, however, and neither were England - even though team management imposed a tour curfew of midnight in response.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, Bairstow said: "A headbutt, to me, is something that has malicious intent.
"The reality is that it was nothing.
"(It was) boys being boys ... there was minimal contact, I can tell you that."
He admits he was taken aback by the fuss which erupted several weeks later.
"Did I feel as if I had been stitched up? Yes I did in many ways.
"But at the same time, I honestly never thought of it as anything to worry about.
"I knew I hadn't done anything wrong and, more importantly, the team and management knew that too.
"Australia, as they have admitted, were trying to use it to get under my skin."
Soon afterwards, he holed out at third-man as England lost the first Test by 10 wickets.
He added: "It did get to me a bit when they started sledging me, because I didn't know what they were talking about.
"But I can honestly say the shot I got out to in the second innings had nothing to do with it.
"I (just) played a bad shot."
There have been hints in some reports that Australia's sledging has strayed into less jocular strains, and broadcast pundit Bob Willis said on air that some of the comments rumoured to have been directed at Bairstow were "personal".
England's wicketkeeper is not about to make any complaint, though - as long as there is no repeat.
"Some other things, apart from the 'headbutt' business, were said by Australia in the middle - but what they were is staying there," he said.
"We move on. I hope it's gone now. I'm not making an issue of it.
"Only if they are said again would the matter go further.
"I've not lost any friendships over the last couple of weeks, put it like that."